A 20-year-old Lakewood man has admitted violently robbing two men he said were targeted for the crimes because they are frum Jews. Devon Hardy of McArthur Street pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of armed robbery and two counts of bias intimidation related to crimes in Lakewood on May 25 and July 8 of last year. In entering his guilty plea before Superior Court Judge James Den Uyl, Hardy said an alleged accomplice, Jose Diaz, selected the Orthodox Jewish men as victims because he knew them to be easy targets.”It wasn’t a hate crime, but they were selected because of their religion,” said First Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Ronald DeLigny.
The first victim, David Davidovish, 38, was visiting from Israel when he was robbed on May 25, 2008, as he sat in a car in front of a convenience store on Route 9, police said.
DeLigny said Davidovish was assaulted with a bat. He suffered a broken nose and required stitches, DeLigny said. Several hundred dollars and a laptop computer were stolen from him.
In court, Hardy admitted to smashing the victim’s windshield with the bat and stealing his money and laptop.
The second victim was Rabbi Yaakov Goldbaum, 41. Hardy admitted stabbing Rabbi Goldbaum twice as he stood outside his home in Lakewood, talking on a cell phone on July 8, 2008.
DeLigny alleged that Hardy was accompanied by Diaz, 32, of Joe Parker Road in Lakewood, and Timothy Swift, 19, of West Gilford Park in Toms River, and that the accomplices punched Goldbaum and stole his wallet.
Swift previously pleaded guilty to robbery in the Rabbi Goldbaum case and is facing a 10-year prison term, DeLigny said.
Both Swift and Hardy agreed to testify against Diaz, who is charged in both incidents.
Under terms of his plea bargain, Hardy is facing 30 years in prison and will be required to serve at least 19 1/2 years of the term before he can be considered for release on parole, DeLigny said. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.