A university professor from Drexel University has been arrested for her alleged involvement in stealing pro-Israel signs from a synagogue in a Philadelphia suburb.

Mariana Chilton, 56, who teaches health management and policy, was reportedly acting as a getaway driver for two others, Sarah Prickett, 39, and Sam Penn, 25, who physically removed the signs from the Main Line Reform Temple in Lower Merion Township.

The incident unfolded when a Philadelphia police officer noticed Chilton's white Honda CRV parked near the synagogue, with Prickett and Penn approaching it. The officer had responded to reports of stolen and defaced religious signs in the area, and upon closer inspection, spotted several pro-Israel signs inside Chilton's vehicle.

Chilton explained to the police that they took the signs because they viewed them as "representative of genocide." Initially offering to return the signs upon realizing they belonged to the temple, Chilton and her accomplices allegedly became uncooperative when asked for identification and failed to comply with lawful orders.

Following their arrest in November, Chilton faces multiple charges including driving without a license in an unregistered vehicle, criminal trespass, conspiracy, and theft. She was reportedly visiting from her home in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, to carry out the theft.

Drexel University has placed Professor Chilton on administrative leave while it investigates the allegations. The university emphasized that while she is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the charges against her are concerning, and they are evaluating the situation in accordance with their policies.

Chilton, also the director of Dornsife’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities, an advocacy center combating food insecurity, awaits further legal proceedings regarding the incident. Photo by Jmh485, Wikimedia commons.