USA – Man allegedly threatened to ‘burn’ rabbi ‘in a gas oven’ during confrontation outside Jewish high school

Jay Bollyn | Chicago Police Department
Jay Bollyn | Chicago Police Department

Chicago, IL – Jay Bollyn is facing hate crime charges after he allegedly told a rabbi he would “burn (them) in a gas oven” during a confrontation outside a Jewish high school in Chicago over the weekend.

Bollyn, 69, was arrested on hate crime charges and ordered held on a $100,000 D-bond during a court hearing Tuesday. He must post $10,000 to be released from custody.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Bollyn was on a sidewalk near Bais Yaakov High School, a private, all-girls Jewish high school, at around 11 a.m. Sunday as students, employees and other people were entering and leaving the school during parent-teacher conferences.

Bollyn began yelling at one person on the school grounds, asking them if they were Jewish and making antisemitic remarks, prosecutors said. Another person, a rabbi who works security at other Jewish schools who was identified by prosecutors as the victim in this case, was informed by school staff of this altercation as it was occurring and approached Bollyn in an outdoor courtyard.

Bollyn then allegedly told the victim he was going to “burn (them) in a gas oven” and threatened to kill the victim before lunging at them through a fence. After the victim jumped away from Bollyn’s grasp, prosecutors said Bollyn began performing a Nazi march while stating “Heil Hitler” and referring to himself as a Nazi.

Chicago police officers arrived on this scene and allegedly observed Bollyn performing this march. He was then taken into custody.

Bollyn’s attorney noted during the hearing that there was no physical contact or harm inflicted on anyone during this altercation, and that the only person who reported hearing what Bollyn said was the complaining witness.

According to prosecutors, Bollyn is currently on probation, which began in July following a conviction for making a false alarm complaint to 911. He also has eight previous misdemeanor convictions including five this year, prosecutors said. Those include two retail thefts, criminal damage to property, public indecency and aggravated assault.

“I find that Mr. Bollyn is a significant threat to anyone in that community and at that location, including children who were in school that day,” Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz said during the hearing.

Bollyn is due back in court for a hearing Dec. 21.

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