Arrest Made in Arson Attack at Fla. Mosque | NECN
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Arrest Made in Arson Attack at Fla. Mosque

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports on how police were able to arrest the suspect in the arson attack at a Fort Pierce mosque. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016)

    The man accused of setting fire to the mosque sometimes attended by Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen was ordered held without bail Thursday after a judge called him a danger to the community and a flight risk.

    Joseph Michael Schreiber looked down during most of the brief hearing before St. Lucie County Judge Philip Yacucci. He told Yaccuci he couldn't afford a private attorney and was appointed a public defender. He also acknowledged two previous stints in prison.

    Authorities said Schreiber faces felony first-degree arson. Officials classified the attack as a hate crime.

    St. Lucie Sheriff's deputies say tips from the community led to the Schreiber's arrest Wednesday. He was picked up by police while walking in Port St. Lucie.

    Officials revealed that surveillance video showing the suspect on a motorcycle also helped them connect the dots. Authorities also conducted a search warrant at the suspect's home after the arrest.

    No one was injured in the fire, which was started late Sunday at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce and burned for more than five hours before it was extinguished Monday.

    The surveillance video from the mosque showed a man on a motorcycle approach the building with a bottle of liquid and some papers, then leave when there was a flash.

    The fire was started on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The mosque had been attended by Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen.

    Authorities said Schreiber has made anti-Islamic comments on his Facebook page. They also said he has a criminal past. 

    If convicted, Schreiber faces a minimum 30-year prison sentence.