Mr Walter Stopler, aged 72 was arrested by police in Miami on Thursday 12th July, after h he allegedly tried to burn down his condominium building in order to “kill all the Jews” according to the police report. Mr Stopler now reportedly faces charges of attempted arson and attempted murder.
Mr Stopler, angry after having recently been served eviction notice, allegedly told another resident that he planned to pour gasoline down the drain line of the building, ignite it and then padlock the building’s fire hoses to stop firefighters from extinguishing the flames.
Miami Beach police officer Ernesto Rodriguez stated that officers received a credible tip that Mr Stopler was planning to burn down The Pavilion residences on Collins Avenue. When the police arrived, they found Mr Stopler in the parking garage of the building, with two plastic containers filled with fuel in a shopping cart. A further eight plastic containing fuel were found in a garbage chute dumpster.
Investigators found that the gasoline had been poured down the chute from the 15th floor – the floor on which Mr Stopler resided. Upon being found with the gasoline, Mr Stopler told the police that “I bought the gas to make a small BBQ”, according to the arrest affidavit.
A storage room was later found by detectives holding 27 additional containers filled with various substances such as gasoline, sulphur powder and potassium nitrate.
The state attorney’s office is to decide whether to pursue further charges against Mr Stopler of a hate crime.