Kristopher Pieper, 21, allegedly said he was "upset with certain traditions of the Orthodox Jewish community"

By Greg Hanlon
April 30, 2021 10:50 AM
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Kristopher Pieper
Kristopher Pieper
| Credit: UConn Police Department

A University of Connecticut student has been arrested on accusations he spray-painted a swastika on a building across the street from the school's Hillel chapter in March, according to multiple reports.

Kristopher Pieper, 21, a junior at the Storrs school, is charged with third-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias and third-degree criminal mischief, the Middletown Press reports.

Police say the swastika was reported on the school's chemistry building on March 27, the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, Patch reports. Citing an arrest affidavit, the outlet reports a second swastika was discovered on the retaining wall of another building fewer than 300 yards from the chemistry building, though Pieper is only accused of drawing one of the swastikas, the Hartford Courant reports.

NBC Connecticut, citing the school, reports Pieper is majoring in anthropology and geographic information science.

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Police allege Pieper initially denied drawing the hate symbol but later admitted to it and agreed to apologize to the Jewish community. According to the affidavit, he allegedly said he was "upset with certain traditions of the Orthodox Jewish community."

He was arrested after an investigation that included video surveillance footage, card swipe access records and wireless internet data, Patch reports.

It was not immediately clear if Pieper has retained an attorney to comment on his behalf.

In a letter to the campus community posted to the school's Twitter account on Thursday, university President Thomas Katsouleas wrote, "Every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests — deserves to feel safe and respected at UConn. Anyone who violates that principle goes against the values this university exists to uphold."