Islamic Center vandalism suspect arrested

Posted at 7:14 PM, Dec 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-07 19:14:01-05

UPDATE: 27-year-old Joshua Killets has been arrested for vandalizing the Islamic Center of Palm Beach.

North Palm Beach police say detectives received a tip Friday afternoon containing information on the current whereabouts of the suspect.

According to the arrest affidavit, Killets had bragged about vandalizing the Islamic Center.

They were able to make contact with Killets, who agreed to talk to police and provided a full confession to the crimes at the Islamic Center of Palm Beach.

Killets has been charged with Burglary to a Structure in excess of $1,000 and Criminal Mischief to a Religious Structure.

"Definitely relief that he was captured," said Sharif Elhosseiny, the president of the Islamic Center. 

Friends describe Killets as a man who mostly kept to himself. "He was a quiet guy, didn't talk a lot to people," said friend and counselor John Park. "But when he did talk, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary."

Parks says he's been counseling Killets at a sober living residence. He says there were no warning signs that Killets would vandalize the Islamic Center. He says he was with Killets the night before the break-in. He says Killets was watching a news report about the attack in San Bernardino.

"The only thing he ever said was, 'wow, that's crazy' when he was watching the news report," said Park. "[He] didn't make any statements that he was going to do anything like that."

On Saturday, the windows were boarded up and most of the physical damage had been removed from the center. Members resumed their prayers inside.

Sharif says what Killets is accused of doing has brought the community even closer.

"We've always seen support, people will come, they'll mention things to us but not like today," said Sharif. "These kind of events always bring people together."

Police have not released a motive for the crime.



The Islamic Center of Palm Beach suffered major vandalism early Friday morning, including multiple windows smashed. 

RELATED: Photos of the damage

The center is located at 101 Castlewood St. in North Palm Beach.

Every window on the right side of the building was broken. Security footage shows the incident happened around 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Other damage included shutters pushed in and broken on the floor and overturned furniture. 

The president of the center, Sharif Elhosseiny, said he believes the damage is a result of recent events.

North Palm Beach police say the suspect was wearing a Miami Heat baseball hat and carrying a tire iron. They think the suspect left in an SUV, possibly a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Escape. Police say the rear driver's side tire is either missing a hubcap or is a spare.

Elhosseiny says there was something red on the walls and on a doorknob that police told him was blood from when the suspect likely cut him or herself on the glass while breaking in.

“This is one individual. It’s unfortunate. We don’t hold him to represent the majority of the people here. We’ve always been active and engaging with the community, condemning terrorism,” the center president said. “We’re going to continue doing what we do. We’re here for the community and we’re going to continue to be here for the community.

Elhosseiny said the center gives to charity and feeds the hungry.  The center hopes this doesn't cause a strained relationship with the neighborhood.

Police say the person they are looking for entered through a bathroom window and caused $5,000 to $10,000 damage.

It is being investigated as a vandalism and burglary, but not a hate crime at this time.

At least one neighbor has reached out to help.

Earl Stewart Toyota, which sits across the street from the center, is donating $1,000 to help with cleanup and repairs. It's also checking its surveillance cameras to see if there are any clues that can help police find the person responsible.

Anyone with information is urged to call North Palm Beach Detective M. Piotrowski at 561.841.3303.