ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The FBI announced Thursday it’s offering a reward to help investigators crack a hate crime. They’re looking for a man who attacked a family because of they way they look. The family moved here six years ago from Iraq because they were persecuted for being Christian. Now, they’re being targeted because someone thought they were Muslim.
“We really want to bring justice to this family,” says APD Public Information Officer Simon Drobik.
Two months ago Seham Jaber was brutally attacked and robbed at her home in northwest Albuquerque.
Back then, she said someone rang her doorbell. She thought it was her husband so, she answered. That’s when Jaber says a masked man wearing gloves attacked her, punching her in the face, cursing and making disparaging remarks about Muslims.
Police say the man asked for money and gold and Jaber pointed to bedroom.
“The offender grabbed her very violently and drug her back into that back bedroom,” explains Drobik.
The man found what he was looking for and plenty of it.
“Because of the background of this family, they were jewelers and because of the history of people leaving other countries and coming to our country, they converted their money into that jewelry, into gold,” Drobik says.
Jaber and her family moved from Iraq six years ago and became U.S. citizens last year.
The masked intruder even found their citizenship documents and tore them to pieces.
“The irony of this whole thing is that this is a Christian family that fled Iraq because of persecution and now in our country, because this individual targeted them because he thought they were Muslim,” Drobik says.
APD teamed up with the FBI to investigate the case as a hate crime. They’re now offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of whomever did it.
“In the FBI, hate crimes are not tolerated. We take this seriously and individuals’ human rights, civil rights should not be violated in such a manner,” explains FBI Agent Renae McDermott.
The family has since moved from their home in northeast Albuquerque.
The suspect is described as being 5’9″ to 5’10” man with a pale complexion and blue eyes. He wore a dark ski mask, blue winter gloves, a yellow short sleeved polo shirt and jeans.
If you have any information, you can contact the FBI by phone at (505) 889-1300 or Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers anonymously at (505) 843-STOP.
The FBI says they’re not sure what this offender will face. They say the penalty will depend on identifying the subject and considering his criminal history and sentencing guidelines.