Feds charge man with making threatening calls to Owings Mills synagogue

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Rosh Pina Messianic Congregation. Image via Google Street View.

A federal grand jury yesterday indicted 64-year-old man Stephen Lyle Orback for making threatening calls to the Rosh Pina Messianic Congregation in Owings Mills, suggesting there would be a mass shooting at the synagogue.

According to the indictment, an office manager for the synagogue, who had calls forwarded to her personal phone after hours, received several calls on the night of May 12 in which the person on the other line made anti-Semetic and racist remarks.

The staffer decided not to answer the next one, but they continued to persist.

The caller left voicemails implying there would be a shooting at the synagogue, likening it to mass killings of Jews perpetuated by the Nazis.

“[J]ust as you’re getting ready to approach your car… bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,” he said. “Sound of machine guns just like back in 1941.”

He also peppered in racist remarks about African-Americans, at one point ending a message with: “I wish we could get a world full of no ni–ers. F—in’ Abraham Lincoln… that cock suck.”

A reference to handing out lunches made the staffer concerned the caller was aware that congregants went to the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills after service to give food to the needy.

In July, investigators learned that the Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington D.C. was receiving calls from a man who identified himself as Steven Greenberg. The caller insisted that the synagogue wire him $50.

When they eventually agreed, he told them his friend, Stephen Orback, would be picking it up, so it needed to be in his name. They confirmed that Orback, who has an Arizona ID number, received the money.

Investigators also spoke with a rabbi in Tucson, Arizona who received an anti-Semetic voicemail and a slew of phone calls from a restricted number. They discovered the calls came from the same number used to call the office manager at Rosh Pina.

If convicted, Orback faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. He is being held in Colorado on unrelated state charges. While he had an Arizona ID to receive the money wire, federal authorities say Orback’s address is unknown.

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel


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