Suspect in arson attack on Florida mosque arrested


Days after the Florida mosque that had been attended by the Orlando Pulse nightclub gunman was set on fire, the sheriff's department of St. Lucie County says it has arrested Joseph Michael Schreiber, 32.

Schreiber was arrested Wednesday by St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office investigators, and charged with arson after a tip came in to deputies Tuesday night identifying Schreiber as the suspect in the mosque arson.

The blaze also occurred three months after the Orlando massacre on June 12 and on the same day as the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The fire burned a hole in the roof of the mosque, but no one was injured in the incident.

Schreiber, who was born in NY, has an extensive criminal history on the Treasure Coast, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Security cameras also spotted a motorcycle at the scene of the fire that was also connected to Schreiber, wrote the Post. He said the attack was inspired by the Islamic State.

Schreiber faces at least 30 years in prison if convicted. Thompson said tips from the public led investigators to the suspect and his home in nearby Port St. Lucie, where a search turned up additional evidence tying him to the crime.

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"I guess he didn't know where else to go", Benson said, adding that Schreiber's parents are "shocked, just like any of us would be if it were our child".

Detectives say that after his arrest Wednesday, Schreiber admitted setting the fire, said he had no intention of hurting anyone and was embarrassed to have committed the crime.

A Jewish man who confessed to an arson attack on a Florida mosque posted videos on his Facebook page produced by mainstream pro-Israel advocacy groups. David Thompson of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. His father is among roughly 100 people who regularly attend the mosque.

Surveillance footage showed a man on a motorcycle arriving at the mosque with a bottle and papers before leaving when there was a flash. Fire fighters took five hours to extinguish the fire.

Schreiber admitted after his arrest to being involved in lighting the fire at the Florida mosque, according to a police affidavit, but told police that he had not meant to hurt anyone.

He said Schreiber sometimes would say something against Muslims, but "we would tell him that's not what we believe, that it is not godly".