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Police arrest man suspected in break-in at mosque, other burglaries

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Minneapolis police have arrested a man suspected of breaking in and vandalizing a Minneapolis mosque last week. They also say he may be connected to more than a dozen other burglaries in the area.

The police department says the 56-year-old "career criminal" broke into and vandalized the Umatul Islam Center last Wednesday, according to a news release. He's accused of smashing doors and windows and also making off with equipment and files – damage the mosque says totals about $5,000.

He's also suspected in at least 10 other burglaries in the area of East Lake Street and 2nd, 3rd and 4th avenues in the past 10 days, the police department's release says.

It appears the suspect was targeting unoccupied businesses, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jarrod Kunze said at a news conference Wednesday, according to MPR News. And when asked if the suspect specifically targeted the mosque, Kunze said he didn't have information that he targeted any group in particular, the news station notes.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) had said following the break-in at the mosque that the Muslim community was worried about what the suspect's motivation was. Gov. Mark Dayton also addressed the crime, calling it"unMinnesotan" and "unAmerican."

In a statement on Facebook Wednesday, CAIR-MN said it and "the Minnesota Muslim community welcome the swift arrest of the suspect."

The suspect was arrested Tuesday, police said, and booked into the Hennepin County jail on probable cause of burglary, possession of marijuana and third-degree driving while impaired, the jail roster shows. He has not been formally charged.

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