Reward $10K, tips few in Islamic Center of Fort Pierce mosque arson

Posted at 4:57 PM, Sep 13, 2016

Bedar Bakht was one of the last people to leave the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce Sunday night after a prayer service and meal with dozens of congregants.

"So we were here until 11:30 p.m. almost give or take a few minutes," he said.

The timestamp from the center's newly installed video cameras show not long after, an arsonist struck. "The guy just don't know what he's did. What can I say? They don't know what they're doing. It's a stupid move on his part."

Bakht said he and others cried after learning of the devastation, something they did not expect.

"I was relaxed to be honest. Someone told me, 'It's September 11th, be careful.' I said, ‘no man it's been 15 years.’ The Orlando incident had passed us by two and a half months. That was a dangerous time when we were in there during Ramadan. It's all over. I'm relaxed. Not afraid. Then this happened, it blows me away," said Bakht.

Tuesday afternoon investigators say they have only received eight tips.

“That is very disheartening, because regardless of individuals’ belief this is a place of worship and a tragic situation. And the individuals responsible for this need to be brought to justice,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office Major David Thompson.

Bakht says it may be another day or two before they're allowed to see what, if anything can be salvaged inside.

"But I know we will be able to build it… better and beautiful and all faiths can come and pray with us and we will stand united," Bahkt said.

There are now rewards totaling $10,000.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. CAIR’s Florida chapter is also offering a $4,000 reward.

And the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention has posted a $5,000 reward.

Tips can be called to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office at 772.462.3230 or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 800.273.TIPS.