A man arrested two weeks ago for allegedly vandalizing a Miami Beach synagogue — and sent to a halfway house over the objections of the state — has escaped.
Now, as the Jewish High Holy Days begin, police are looking for Maximo de la Cruz-de Jesus, 43, who was charged with criminal mischief at a place of holy worship for allegedly defacing a banner in front of Temple Emanu-el with a swastika and the letters “KKK.”
After his arrest Sept. 9, de la Cruz-de Jesus was released to the custody of Mercy Hospital, with his bond set at $5,000.
Last week, his attorneys petitioned the court to have him placed at Harbor House, where he was supposed to get the mental health help he needs.
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Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, said prosecutors strenuously objected to the move, noting the facility had only a six-foot fence and was not a “complete lockdown facility.” Prosecutors also requested that a GPS tracking device be placed on de la Cruz-de Jesus.
The court denied both requests.
“Someone there from Harbor House said it was secure,” Griffith said. “We objected.”
Harbor House, located at 420 NW 10th St., is a supportive-housing facility that, among other things, assists people who have been homeless and are trying to get back on their feet.
Miami Beach police said de la Cruz-de Jesus scaled the fence during his escape and that they were searching for him. A new warrant for his arrest has been issued.