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Man arrested for alleged burglary attempt
Authorities: Rabbi’s quick reaction led to man’s arrest
Johnny Ezell McDonald
Johnny Ezell McDonald Jr.

An Alpharetta man was arrested for allegedly attempting to burglarize a south Forsyth synagogue Friday evening.

Johnny Ezell McDonald Jr., 20, of Alpharetta was arrested by deputies and charged with criminal trespass after the rabbi of Chabad of Forsyth found him allegedly “going through the front desk” at the synagogue and called 911, according to an incident report from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

The report states that the rabbi confronted McDonald in the building, and when McDonald fled the scene in a black BMW, he was able to provide authorities with a description of the vehicle and a partial plate number.

McDonald was stopped a short distance away, on the Ga. 400 southbound on-ramp, and was later identified by the rabbi as the person who had entered the synagogue.

According to Cpl. Doug Rainwater, spokesman of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, this incident was a good example of the “See Something, Say Something” in action.

“This was all attentiveness and quick thinking on the rabbi’s part,” Rainwater said. “Because he reacted so quickly, we were able to make a quick arrest before [McDonald] fled the county. That’s what the sheriff has been talking about for months.”

The report states that nothing of value was stolen and no damage was done to the building during the incident.

In a statement to the FCN, Rabbi Levi Mentz of Chabad of Forsyth praised the quick response of the deputies and the efficiency of their work during the incident. He said that the coordinated effort between the synagogue’s security procedures and local law enforcement brought the incident to a close quickly.

“I want to thank the security procedures we have set up through Deputy Kevin Ferraro, the Kehoe Group and the security system we have set up with the synagogue leadership,” Mentz said. “That’s how we took care of business so quickly; we planned for this.”  

McDonald was booked into the Forsyth County Jail on Friday and was released shortly after on bond.

McDonald could not be reached for comment as of press time.