Joseph Michael Schreiber of Port St Lucie was arrested today in connection with the fire at the Islamic Center of Ft Pierce. A press conference was held by the St Lucie County Sheriff’s office at six pm. As I write this police are searching his home.
The police were able to make this arrest because of tips they got from the community and surveillance video from businesses and homes along Midway Rd and Tourino Parkway.
“A fire at any place of worship regardless of your beliefs is a tragedy.” said Gary Wilson, the chief deputy at the St Lucie County Sheriff’s office.
The evidence led them to believe that this was an arson case. There were multiple agencies involved including the St Lucie County Fire Department, FBI, FDLE, ATF, and the Florida State Fire Marshall’s office and as a result of their assistance am arrest was made 65 hours after the fire was reported.
Schreiber owns a motorcycle consistent with the one in the surveillance video. Other evidence collected at the house also linked him to the fire. an examination of his social media account also showed multiple anti Islamic posts and comments.
He will be charged with arson, and Florida’s hate crime enhancement will also be applied to the charge. What that does is enhance the second degree felony to a first degree felony and carries a possible thirty year prison sentence. Schreiber is known to law enforcement and qualifies as a prison release reoffender. That would impose a 30 year mandatory minimum sentence. He also qualifies as a habitual felony offender and could ultimately be sentenced to life in Prison.
Michael D’Alonzo, from the Miami FBI said the FBI is fully engaged and take any threat of violence against any house of worship very seriously. He also said he was not going to speculate on additional charges until the investigation was complete. The FBI and the ATF will continue to investigate and determine any federal charges in conjunction with the US Attorneys office.
He will be booked in the St Lucie County Jail.
There will be a vigil for Solidarity Thurs at 7:30 PM