UI student arraigned in latest case of vandalism to campus menorah

UI student arraigned in latest case of vandalism to campus menorah

URBANA — A University of Illinois student who allegedly damaged the menorah at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life on campus in late October has been formally charged.

Jacob R. Bassler, 18, of the 1200 block of South First Street, Champaign, appeared in court Thursday before Judge Brett Olmstead and was arraigned on a single count of criminal damage to property between $500 and $10,000.

The charge stemmed from vandalism to the religious symbol that is in the front yard of the center at 509 S. Fourth St., C.

Around 10:50 p.m. Oct. 27, two men were captured on video apparently shaking the menorah. One then removed a branch.

Bassler and another man, Nicholas Gustafson, 18, were identified by UI police about a week later and issued notices to appear in court.

Gustafson is scheduled to make his first court appearance Dec. 14.

Olmstead allowed Bassler to remain free on his own recognizance and told him to be back in court Jan. 16.

He faces penalties ranging from probation to one to three years in prison for the felony offense.

The Chabad Center is in the process of erecting a new, stronger, larger menorah that is scheduled to be unveiled next week to mark the beginning of Hanukkah.

-