A man who vandalized a Florida mosque and left a slab of raw bacon on its doorstep has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on a hate crime conviction.
Michael Wolfe, 37, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to criminal mischief to a place of worship, a case considered a felony hate crime, Todd Brown the spokesman for Florida’s 18th Judicial District said.
CCTV footage from January 2, 2016 captured a man with a shaved head wearing camouflage clothing smashing windows, cameras and lights with a machete knife at the mosque in Titusville, near Cape Canaveral.
Hate groups have been using pork products to desecrate mosques in the USA due to the Muslim faith’s prohibition of them, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Prosecutors said the sentence of 15 years in prison followed by 15 years probation was reached after discussions between the Islamic Society of Central Florida and Titusville police, report USA Today.
He entered a plea deal and plead guilty to vandalizing the mosque itself with hate crime enhancement, making it a felony.
He waived his right to a pre-sentencing investigation.
Wolfe’s tasteless act took place during what’s reported as a growing number of mosque vandalisms has been taking place across the United States.
Muslim advocacy groups had expressed concern over the wave of ‘anti-Islamic’ sentiment when Wolfe’s attack on the Titusville mosque took place.
Brown said that Wolfe offered to the court that he was a habitual offender.
Wolfe is not allowed to return to the mosque as a condition of his probation. Further details of the probation were not immediately available.
As well as the criminal mischief charge, Wolfe was charged with armed burglary during the arrest, which was subsequently dropped in court.
The agreement was to drop the armed burglary in exchange for his plea.
The Muslim faith is followed by 1.6 billion people worldwide with an estimated 3.3 million living in the US.
Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.