An alleged Rockville satanist accused of painting a swastika on a synagogue in the Montgomery County seat also firebombed a nearby church as part of his plan to target multiple congregations of different faiths, according to Montgomery County Police.
Andrew Lemond Costas, 28, was arrested this week in connection with the anti-Semitic vandalism on Mar. 28 of the Tikvat Israel Congregation in Rockville, WTOP News reported, as well as the hurling of Molotov cocktails on Apr. 8 at St. Catherine Laboure Roman Catholic Church in Wheaton.
He is a facing a hate crime charge, among other charges.
Police say Costas told his girlfriend, Rebecca Danielle Matathias, that he was the antichrist and planned to cause damage to 10 churches and three synagogues. The total — 13 — has symbolic significance in Satanist circles and literature.
According to police, Costas is the individual seen in a surveillance camera video parking his car outside the Conservative synagogue, walking up and spraying paint on the outside wall. Police said the man painted swastikas and hateful slogans.
Costas and Matathias, who lives in the Montgomery town of Brookville, are facing second-degree arson charges. He is being held until his trial.
Matathias, who is in her early 20s, also was arrested but is out on bail.
Costas was charged with damaging property because of a person’s religious beliefs –- which is a hate crime — and for defacing a religious facility and malicious destruction.
Cnaan Liphshiz writes for the JTA global Jewish news source.