Authorities have made an arrest in their investigation into a fire they say was started intentionally on Sunday at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.
The Indiana State Police late Tuesday confirmed the arrest of Randy Linn, 52, of St. Joe, Ind. Mr. Linn was arrested by authorities from state police, the Fort Wayne Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Fort Wayne Police Department about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Fort Wayne, Ind. He is said to be the person of interest who was captured by a surveillance camera outside the center, 25877 Scheider Rd., during the fire. “We believe the person in the photos is the person we have in custody,” said Shane Cartmill, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal's Office.
He is being held in the Allen County jail in Fort Wayne, awaiting extradition to Ohio.
Mr. Linn was charged Wednesday in Perrysburg Municipal Court with two counts of aggravated arson, one count of aggravated burglary, and carrying a concealed weapon.
Crews responded to the fire at the center shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday. It was ruled an arson case on Monday.
A photograph obtained through security video of a person of interest in the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo arson.
“We view that as a very positive development, and we look forward to what law enforcement determines as far as possibly motivation and the background of the suspect,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, a national Islamic civil liberties advocacy group that had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
“We are obviously concerned with what the possible motive could have been in this case, since we have seen so much lately,” he added, referring to other recent incidents in which mosques have been torched or vandalized.
Perrysburg Township Police Sgt. James Gross said investigators had finished their investigation inside the center and turned over results to center administrators Monday. Investigators have not released a motive.
Several people did a walk-through of the center on Monday and were inside again on Tuesday to do an evaluation of damage, Sergeant Gross said. Officials have said most of the damage — primarily smoke and water — was on the second floor in the prayer room. A damage estimate has not been released.
The center remained closed on Tuesday.