Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

California Man Charged With Setting Fire, Drawing Devil Outside Synagogue

A California man faces charges of vandalism and arson after setting a small fire outside a local congregation and drawing a devil on its walkway, the Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday.

Police were alerted of a person, later identified as Brett Allen Bisnett, loitering around Congregation Beth Shalom in Modesto on Monday evening.

Bisnett, who told police he has mental health issues, had set a teddy bear on fire a few feet away from the wall, according to the Bee. He also drew what he said was a devil in black permanent marker on the concrete, telling the officers that it was God who instructed him to do it.

There is also surveillance video of him pulling plants from the ground.

Lt. Steve Stanfield told the publication it’s mostly like not a hate crime. He infers the fire was set for warmth.

As of Tuesday morning, the drawing was still visible outside the synagogue’s entrance. The plants Bisnett pulled were also found on the ground, as was the package the marker he apparently used came in.

He faces charges of vandalism to a place of worship, arson and a parole violation, the Bee reported.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.