Volume 4 Number 16
April 20, 2007

REWARD MONEY GROWS IN ISLAMIC CENTER ARSON 

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as state fire marshal, announced that an additional $2,500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible for a fire last week at the Islamic Education Center of Tampa.  The reward money, posted by the Florida Advisory Council on Arson Prevention, is in addition to $10,000 in rewards already being offered by the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay. 

“Our country was founded on religious freedom and it is simply un-American that anyone would victimize a religious community,” said CFO Sink.  “Arson is a violent crime, and we need to get whoever did this off the street as quickly as possible.  I urge anyone with information about this tragic crime to come forward.”  

CFO Sink expressed appreciation for efforts by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida’s former State Fire Marshal, to generate heightened attention to the case by bringing state and federal agencies together to work closely and quickly. 

The Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue to determine who started the blaze, which has now been ruled arson. The FBI has a toll-free telephone number, 1-866-838-1153, for anyone who may have information about the fire.  “Anyone with any information, any information at all, about this case should call that number,” said FBI spokesman David Couvetier.   Callers can remain anonymous. Crime Stoppers also has a toll-free line available for information at 1-800-873-TIPS. 

The fire occurred last Thursday at the center, located at 6450 Rockpointe Drive.  Investigators say the fire began after someone poured a flammable liquid in and around a broken window.  No one was injured and the fire was contained to one room. 

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI) is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin.  To report suspected arson to the BFAI, call 1-877-NOARSON (1-877-662-7766).