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FBI offers $15,000 reward for suspected mosque arsonist captured on tape


Man captured on surveillance video who is sought by law enforcers for an apparent arson attack on a mosque in Joplin, Mo., on July 4.

The FBI announced a $15,000 reward for information that helps nab a suspect captured on surveillance video throwing a lit object onto the roof of an Islamic Center in Joplin, Mo.

The nationwide appeal for tips that lead to the identity, whereabouts and indictment of the white man who appears on the video image came Wednesday, about two weeks after it was announced locally, said Bridget Patton, spokesperson for the FBI in Kansas City, Mo.

"We need to put that picture out to see if anyone can identify that person or give us any information to further this investigation," said Patton. She said the appeal could "just someone to stop and think… and call in pertinent information, like, 'you know, I did see a car on that street.'"

A fire on the roof of the Islamic Center of Joplin was reported about 3:30 a.m. July 4, the FBI said. It was extinguished by the Jasper County Fire Department before it could cause interior damage.

The mosque was vacant at the time, Patton said.

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She said she could not comment on whether the initial local appeal had generated any useful tips.

The $15,000 reward includes $10,000 from the FBI and $5,000 from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Federal law criminalizes 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, the FBI noted in a release.

The FBI plans to publish the whole video recording of the attack on its site on Friday, Patton said.

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