Hewlett assault and robbery elevated to hate crime


The man who allegedly stole two pro-American and Israel flags from a house on Steven Drive in Hewlett on Feb. 4 was indicted on multiple hate crime charges along with robbery, assault and criminal mischief charges on March 6.

Bechir Lehbeib, 26, who is listed as a resident of migrant shelters in Jamaica, Queens as well as Staten Island, allegedly walked up to the house and grabbed two flags — one read “In this home, we stand with Israel,” and the other depicted a combination of the American and Israeli flags.

Lehbieb, who said he is Palestinian, reportedly stomped on the flags. The homeowner’s Ring camera app captured the incident and the homeowner confronted Lehbieb.

According to police, Lehbieb allegedly punched the homeowner in the face and knocked him to the ground as the fight continued.

While on the ground, Lehbieb allegedly head butted the homeowner and trampled both flags. The homeowner called 911 after Lehbieb left. He was arrested a brief time later.

“Hate crimes have no place in Nassau County,” District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a news release, “Crimes committed because of our religion, our skin color or who we love will be vigorously prosecuted by my offices of the Hate Crime Unit.”

Lehbieb pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $125,000 cash, $250,000 bond and a $1 million partially secured bond. Previously he was ordered to surrender his passport.

His next court date is April 1. If convicted of the top charge, he could be sentenced up to 25 years in prison. Lehbieb  is represented by Taryn Schechter.