LAKEWOOD — As the largest Jewish population in New Jersey prepares for the Sabbath, police are assuring residents that a large police presence will continue.

The FBI confirmed that a person believed to be responsible for making threats against synagogues in New Jersey was taken into custody by the FBI Thursday night but did not disclose the individual's identity or location.

Investigators do not believe the man had the means or motive to carry out any specific attack, according to the official who could not discuss details publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

NBC 4 New York in a broadcast report citing unnamed law enforcement sources reported it was an 18-year-old Sayreville high school student. An FBI spokeswoman would not confirm the report to New Jersey 101.5.

Hoboken Police officers stand watch outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken
Hoboken Police officers stand watch outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken (AP Photo/Ryan Kryska)

Worry in Ocean County

Tensions continue to run high in Lakewood after anti-Semitic graffiti was written on the wall of a Lakewood private school. Staffordsmith said it is not believed to be related to the threat the FBI warned about and the school is working with police to identify the culprits.

On Thursday afternoon, a driver shouted racial slurs at another Jewish driver after a crash on New Hampshire Avenue at Ocean Avenue, according to The Lakewood Scoop. The driver left the crash scene.

"There isn’t any known threat specific to Lakewood. We believe in providing the best service we can, to those we protect and have chosen to provide an increased presence for an undisclosed amount of time," Lakewood police Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith told New Jersey 101.5.

"We understand the events of (Thursday) were very unsettling. We take threats against our community seriously and we will be adding patrols to your neighborhoods to make sure everyone can enjoy Shabbos with the peace and security they deserve in their home," Jackson Police Chief Matthew Kunz said in a message posted by The Lakewood Scoop.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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