Residents and churchgoers were shocked earlier this week when a Muslim man unleashed terror in the form of two fires. Afshin Bahrampour was arrested in a parking lot across from the Chabad of Southern Nevada Desert Torah Academy shortly after the fires were set.
Las Vegas Fire and Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said that crews arrived after receiving a call to find a car on fire in the parking lot of the synagogue. Substantial damage was done to the car and minor damage to two others parked close by.
As the firefighters cleaned up were cleaning up, synagogue workers approached them to say that the car was not the first fire of the night. Two hours earlier, personnel extinguished a fire in a trash can inside the building. Fortunately, no damage occurred from that.
The arson unit, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, and federal ATF agents coordinated an immediate investigation and reviewed the synagogue’s surveillance video. They were able to see a suspect on the property around the time of both fires. A check of the surrounding area led them to Bahrampour.
The 47-year-old Muslim man was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree arson, three counts of third-degree arson, and one count of burglary. While it is not yet clear what his motives were and police have not officially determined it is a hate crime, there is evidence that points to that being the case. Rabbi Shea Harlig told reporters,
“The general concern is that he came back twice. We have him on video both times.” The Rabbi also revealed that all the damaged vehicles belonged to congregants attending a prayer service.
This is not the first time that Bahrampour has been in trouble in Las Vegas. He was convicted on charges of obtaining money by false pretenses in 2015. He was sentenced to time served. Last September, he entered a plea of no contest to misdemeanor attempted arson. He received a sentence of 90 days in jail. Obviously, he is determined to do damage with fire and needs to be stopped. This time around the judge should not be so lenient.
No comments have been made on whether the disturbed man is in the United States legally or not.