Deputies: Rabbi confronts burglar in synagogue

- Forsyth County deputies have praise for the quick-thinking spiritual leader who confronted a burglar in the act of trying to steal from a house of worship.

With the help of the Rabbi who called 911, deputies said they were able to arrest 20-year-old Johnny McDonald for burglarizing the synagogue Congregation Beth Israel off Brannon Road.

"Of course you think such a day would never come," Rabbi Levi Mentz said, about coming face to face with an intruder investigators said had criminal intent. "Thank God we were ready," he said.

Mentz said he saw the suspect's black BMW parked outside last Friday evening, right before people were expected to arrive for a gathering at the start of the service for the Sabbath.

Deputies said the suspect was rifling through drawers, searching for valuables.

Mentz said, with recent security preparations for the possibility of an intruder into a house of worship, he remained calm as he saw the man, who fled out an exit. He said he immediately called 911 and remembered part of the license plate of the fleeing vehicle.

Deputies said with the quick information provided by the Rabbi, they were able to find and pull over McDonald within minutes.

"We've been spending many, many months with a synagogue security team preparing for such an incident," Mentz said. "Thank God I was there at the right time, the right place," he said.

Mentz said the congregation will take the lessons learned from this scenario and implement a larger security plan at the future synagogue planned for construction in the area.

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