(WIAT) — Police in Arizona are now saying that March mosque break-ins in Anniston and Gadsden could be linked to similar crimes in their state.
Surveillance pictures were released from March 10th at the Anniston Islamic Center and the Gadsden Islamic Society following incidents there. Gadsden police said a man shown in a surveillance picture is believed to be the suspect in their case, who also could be linked to the one in Anniston.
“It was disturbing, it still is unfortunately,” said Khaula Hadeed, executive director of the Alabama chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “When it happened in March, we were hoping they would find out pretty soon who this John Doe was.”
More than 1,700 miles away in the Phoenix area, Chandler Police are investigating a burglary at Islamic Center of the East Valley, where police said money was stolen. Chandler Police have also released a picture of their suspect.
“Unfortunately, seeing the large smile on the face of the man that did this, that’s kind of the hardest thing,” said Kristy Sabbah with the Islamic Center of the East Valley. “Just knowing he looked very content with what he was doing.”
There was also a break-in at a mosque in the town of Maricopa, and police believe the same person is responsible for both burglaries.
Chandler Police said they looked at surveillance pictures from the Gadsden Islamic Society incident, and believe there may be a connection.
“Based on the resemblance of the photographs, our detectives do believe it might be the same subject, said Sgt. Daniel Mejia with Chandler Police. “Obviously, there is a lot of work before we can come out and confirm anything like that.”
Mejia said they are working with law enforcement agencies in Alabama to close the case.