Federal hate crime charges filed in Hanukkah attack after investigators find evidence of anti-Semitism

Federal prosecutors charged the suspect in the New York City-area Hanukkah machete attack over the weekend with hate crimes along with several counts of attempted murder after finding a journal of his containing anti-Semitic writings.

Grafton Thomas, 37, faces five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. On Monday, the federal hate crime charges were laid out against him, reported The Associated Press.

The New York Times that officials said they discovered handwritten journals at Thomas’ home expressing anti-Semitic views that included references to Adolph Hitler and “Nazi culture.”

Investigators also found drawings of a Star of David and a swastika, the complaint says.

The complaint, which was signed by an FBI agent, noted that authorities searched Thomas’ phone and found that he had looked up the phrase, “Why did Hitler hate the Jews” four times over the past month.

In addition, the complaint said that he searched for “German Jewish Temples near me,” and “Zionist Temples” in Elizabeth, N.J., and Staten Island in recent weeks.

Police in New York City have stepped up patrols of Jewish neighborhoods and synagogues in response to an increase in anti-Semitic attacks.

On Sunday, Thomas pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. His family also came forward with a statement claiming he has a history of mental illness, but no history with anti-Semitism.