Crime

Surveillance video released in burglary at Rock Hill Muslim mosque

Rock Hill Police are looking for this man accused of breaking into the Islamic Center in Rock Hill on Friday.
Rock Hill Police are looking for this man accused of breaking into the Islamic Center in Rock Hill on Friday. courtesy of Rock Hill Police

A brazen broad-daylight suspect in a vandalism and break-in at Rock Hill’s only mosque Friday between prayer services is not being considered a hate crime, but the suspect can be clearly seen using first a brick, and then a rock so big he needs two hands to break into the religious building Friday.

In the 2- minute video that police released Monday, the suspect repeatedly hammers at the glass with the rock then uses his elbow several times to finally smash the door glass before reaching through the opening to get inside the mosque. The surveillance video then shows the suspect not leaving through the front door onto Rock Hill’s Main Street carrying a power saw.

A witness claims to know the suspect as someone who regularly passes by on foot and bicycle.

Muslim leaders at the mosque are outraged at the outlandish vandalism and theft, but are appreciative of police investigating.

“We are thankful for the police actions so far, and we expect our property back,” said James “Jumah” Moore, executive director of the mosque that opened in 2013 after being built by the S.C. Islamic Center.

Detectives are investigating the incident as a burglary, but the incident does not appear to be a hate crime targeting the religion of Islam or area Muslims, police said.

The Herald first reported the vandalism Friday when police were still on the scene checking the damage during Friday Muslim prayer services.

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