1/2 - MBPD has arrested 72yr old, Walter Stolper. Stolper is charged w/ 1st Degree Attempted Arson after dumping several gasoline filled containers down a trash chute. His motivation appears to be triggered by an upcoming eviction and anger towards Jewish neighbors. pic.twitter.com/WsvRSRzCaT— Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) July 13, 2018
Police in Miami Beach, Florida, managed to prevent what could have been a severe explosion in a residential apartment building when they arrested a 72-year-old man who was allegedly plotting to kill all his Jewish neighbors.
Walter Stolper had reportedly threatened to “burn down the building with all the f****** Jews” after being served an eviction notice for unknown reasons. Later, residents of the condo complex began complaining about the strong smell of gasoline in the hallways and the elevator.
“He was telling me that, you know, he was tired of the association in his building and ‘these Jews in the building’ and that he was going to do something about it,” a witness, Luis Diaz, told CBS Miami. “I thought he was venting, but then he got a little serious when he told me he started ordering canisters for fuel and that he was going to burn the building.”
Police arrested Stolper following an anonymous tip and soon discovered he had already poured “several gasoline-filled containers down a trash chute.” In fact, he was reportedly transporting two large containers of gas in a shopping cart when he was apprehended by the police in the building’s garage. He told the officers he was going to use it for “a small barbecue.”
According to the reports, the suspect had also placed at least eight gasoline canisters in the garbage chute dumpster. He allegedly planned to set the building’s main line on fire and then maximize the damage by using electric fans that he had bought.
"His motivation appears to be triggered by a pending eviction and anger towards Jewish neighbors," the police wrote on Facebook. "Detectives also discovered 28 additional gas containers, sulfur powder, and potassium nitrate in a storage room linked to the defendant."
Stolper had also acquired padlocks to place on building’s fire hoses, according to the warrant.
“We are confident the work of our detectives prevented an imminent crisis at 5601 Collins Avenue,” the Miami Beach Police Department said in a statement.
Unsurprisingly, the police also found Nazi literature and swastikas inside the man’s apartment.
Stolper has since been charged with first degree attempted arson and attempted murder.
“We commend the Miami Beach Police Department, led by Chief Daniel J. Oates, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for taking this tip seriously, and for the swift investigation which undoubtedly thwarted a potential mass-casualty event,” said Florida regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, Sheri Zvi, in a statement. “Based on available public information about the incident, we urge the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to take a hard look at reclassifying and prosecuting this incident as a hate crime.”
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