Suspect arrested in Titusville mosque vandalism

By Joel Schipper and Jerry Hume, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 05, 2016, 7:50 AM EST

A man with a long criminal past was arrested Monday night in connection with the vandalism at a Brevard County mosque, police said.

Michael Scott Wolfe, 35, of Titusville, is charged with criminal mischief to a religious building, a third-degree felony.

Investigators on Monday released surveillance footage that they say shows Wolfe entering The Islamic Society of Central Florida Masjid Al-Munin Mosque, located at 1011 S. Washington Ave., around 11 p.m. Friday.

Police say Wolfe, wearing a T-shirt and camouflage pants, pulled a machete from a bag and then used it to cause damage to the mosque.

 Police said several cameras, lights and windows were broken and bacon was also left by the front door of the mosque. The Quran, the holy book of Islam, prohibits Muslims from eating pork.

Investigators released surveillance footage that they say shows Michael Scott Wolfe entering The Islamic Society of Central Florida Masjid Al-Munin Mosque around 11 p.m. Friday.

Imam Muhammad Musri, with the Islamic Society of Central Florida, said it was a matter of time until an incident like this occurred in Florida based on current Middle East tensions.

"You will get to a point to know where it's going to happen — eventually somebody crazy is going to act out and it's not a matter of if, but when," Musri said. "It is a potential hate crime because the motive behind the vandalism was really hate against a community of faith."

Wolfe has been arrested more than a dozen times, according to jail records. Previous arrests include charges of loitering and prowling, possession of burglary tools with intent to use, grand theft and resisting officer without violence.

Previous mug shots for Michael Scott Wolfe. (Brevard County Corrections)

Rasha Mubarak, the Orlando Regional Coordinator for CAIR, released the following statement to News 13:

We are calling for a local, state and federal hate crime investigation of the vandalism and attempted desecration of this Titusville mosque — the latest such incident in a recent spike in attacks on Muslim houses of worship nationwide.

A similar crime happened last week in Las Vegas. The FBI on Dec. 27 said a man can be seen in a surveillance video putting bacon on the door handles to the entrances of the Masjid-e-Tawheed mosque.

Earlier in December, a severed pig's head was found outside a Philadelphia worship site.