BOISBRIAND - A robbery Monday night in a Boisbriand synagogue has the local Jewish community on edge.

The latest in a recent rash of crimes in the area, four people broke into the synagogue in Kirya Tosh, a community north of Laval.

The assailants broke a window to steal $10,000 worth of religious artefacts including a handmade, imported tefillin, worn during prayers, worth over $2,000.

A talis, which is a Jewish prayer shawl, and a bible curtain were also stolen, and books were thrown out of the broken window onto the lawn

""They start to touch our holy things," said Rabbi Israel Myer. "It's really, really painful for us and it's getting worse, so people are really, really afraid of it."

Over 3,000 Hasidic Jews live in Boisbriand, and many say over the past three weeks they've encountered increased intimidation from outside their community.

"When it's getting dark outside, children they are afraid to go outside," said Myer.

Some claim they are being verbally harassed and their homes and cars have been vandalized.

Some members of the Jewish community said they felt the most recent robbery was connected to these incidents and the group is being targeted due to religious discrimination.

"Right now, no connection has been established between the robbery and any of the other incidents," said Sgt. Martin Charron of the Therese-de-Blainville police.

Police say it appears the thieves targeted the synagogue Monday, and that their objective was to steal, not vandalize.

They also say they have not received increased reports over the past three weeks, as some in the Jewish community claim.

Myer said many make reports to their local independent security staff and not always to the police.

"Usually they only call the police when they have evidence, like a (licence) plate number or something," he said.