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Florida Mosque Fire Arrest Suspect Faces Hate Crime Count

Image: Florida Mosque Fire Arrest Suspect Faces Hate Crime Count

Joseph Schreiber. (St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 11:42 AM

A Florida mosque was set on fire Monday and authorities have arrested a 32-year-old man in the case, which will be prosecuted as a hate crime, according to WPBF-TV and Reuters.

Authorities arrested Joseph Schreiber and book him into the St. Lucie County Jail on Wednesday. The Islamic Center of Port Pierce caught fire about 12:30 a.m. Eastern time, Monday during one of the holiest Muslim holidays, Eid al-Adha, reported Reuters.

The mosque was where Omar Mateen worshiped before he shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June. Mateen was killed by authorities to end the siege.

Police charged Schreiber with arson and he could face a mandatory minimum of 30 years because of his status as a repeat offender. The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office told Reuters that the case is being tried under the state's hate crime law.

Security video captured a man running from the scene as the fire started and authorities believe that person was Schreiber, said WPBF-TV.

"We made a plea for the community's help in this investigation," said Sheriff's Maj. Dave Thompson. "The community stepped forward and provided that."

Thompson said his office received several tips leading to Schreiber as the suspect and they were able to supplement that evidence with other security video in the area. That combination led to Schreiber's arrest.

Thompson said Schreiber had recently posted anti-Muslim statements on social media, said the Palm Beach Post.

"The Facebook posts were evident that there is anti-Islamic propaganda and that corroborates our fear that in fact this does have to do with hate for the Islamic community," Thompson said.

Security cameras also spotted a motorcycle at the scene of the fire that was also connected to Schreiber, wrote the Post.

"A search warrant was obtained and a search of Schreiber's house was conducted that revealed Schreiber owns a motorcycle consistent with the surveillance video footage," Thompson said. "Other evidence collected also linked Schreiber to the arson."

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A Florida mosque was set on fire Monday and authorities have arrested a 32-year-old man in the case, which will be prosecuted as a hate crime.
florida, mosque, fire, arrest
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2016-42-15
Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 11:42 AM
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