A rabbi who has overseen South America's largest Jewish congregation for more than three decades has temporarily resigned after being arrested on shoplifting charges, police and his congregation said Thursday.
Henry I. Sobel, who heads the S&atilda;o Paulo Jewish Congregation, was arrested Friday on three counts of theft for allegedly stealing ties valued at $680 from several stores in Palm Beach, Fla., according to a Palm Beach police statement.
Sobel gained a strong reputation as a defender of human rights during Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship and is also well-known in Brazil for attempting to forge strong relations among Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The police report said an employee at a Louis Vuitton store in Palm Beach called officers after she realized a man left the store and a tie was missing.
Sobel, 63, initially told officers he was not in the store, and then offered to buy the tie, but continued to deny he took it, the statement said.
He then admitted taking the tie and gave officers permission to get it from his car, police said. Officers found a bag with other ties that Sobel admitted to taking without paying from different luxury stores, the statement said.
I don't think I've ever met him, but Sobel has a reputation as a very nice guy, although a little quirky. I'm also sure he makes enough money that he wouldn't need to steal any tie. Moreover, there are somewhat contradicting details on the various news articles... I don't know what's going on.