Arrest made in Rhode Island mosque vandalism

North Smithfield police have arrested and charged a Cumberland man in connection with a case of vandalism at a local mosque.

Robert Scalso, 20, of Mendon Rd. is facing a misdemeanor charge of vandalism, police confirmed Monday morning.

Police said Scalso destroyed the sign outside Masjiad Al-Islam mosque on Sayles Hill Rd. earlier this month.

The crime was caught on surveillance camera Aug. 5 around 3 a.m. A person could be seen driving into the mosque’s parking lot and then smashing the sign with what appeared to be a hammer.

The crime happened the same day as a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, prompting mosque members to ask police and the FBI for additional protection.

They said they were concerned the vandalism might be part of a larger pattern against Muslims, or people perceived as Muslim.

North Smithfield police said the investigating is ongoing. Investigators have not released details on a possible motive.

WPRI, 20 August 2012