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Stolen Torah recovered

February 1, 2012

A valuable Torah stolen in December from the Landfield Avenue Synagogue has been recovered. Police arrested Christopher Colvill, 41, of Woodridge, on Tuesday, January 24 morning and charged him with criminal possession of stolen property. They recovered the scroll, valued at $35,000, from his house.

The Torah was noted missing on the morning of December 31, when Rabbi Ben-Zion Chanowitz arrived at his offices at the synagogue to find them in disarray and $200 in charity funds stolen.

The Torah, handwritten by a scribe in Israel, had been purchased about 10 years ago to replace another valuable scroll that had fallen into disrepair.

Colvill had worked under a contractor to repair smoke damage at the synagogue some time ago, and the synagogue reported that he had called in several days prior to the break-in Colvill saying he had just left prison and was looking for a job.

Chanowitz has identified the Torah and described it as being in excellent condition.