FBI Offering Reward in Joplin Islamic Center Arson Case

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FBI is asking for the public’s help in locating a man suspected of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Joplin.

The FBI’s Kansas City Division announced on Wednesday that there is now a $15,000 reward for the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for the July 4th fire at the Islamic Center of Joplin. The combined $15,000 reward is made up of $10,000 from the FBI and $5,000 from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

According to authorities, the fire was reported on the roof of the Islamic Center around 3:30 a.m. on July 4th. The blaze was contained to the roof by the Jasper County Fire Department, and did not break through the roof or cause any damage to the interior of the building.

Authorities say that surveillance video from the building showed an unidentified white male walking up to the building and throwing a burning object onto the roof.

It’s a violation of federal law to commit arson and vandalism against houses of worship committed either because of the race or ethnicity of the group using the property or, in certain circumstances, because of the religious nature of the property.

This case is being investigated by the FBI, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, the ATF, and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. Anybody with information in the case is asked to call one of the following agencies:

•    FBI Joplin Field Office: (417) 206-5700
•    Jasper County Sheriff’s Office: Detective Tim Williams (417) 358-8177, ext. 1223
•    ATF: (417) 837-2100
•    Missouri Division of Fire Safety Arson Hotline: 1-800-392-7766

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