Detectives Investigating Whether Mosque Arsonist Had Help

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — Authorities are investigating whether a man accused of torching a Florida mosque was part of a conspiracy.

Joseph Michael Schreiber is accused of setting fire to the Fort Pierce Islamic Center on 9/11/2016. (Source: St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office)

Joseph Michael Schreiber is accused of setting fire to the Fort Pierce Islamic Center on 9/11/2016. (Source: St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office)

Lt. Adam Goodner of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said in an email Friday that detectives are investigating who Joseph Schreiber spoke to on his cellphone moments before the fire was set Sunday night. Detectives said in their arrest affidavit that surveillance cameras at the mosque, which was once attended by Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, caught the arsonist on his cellphone.

Former inmate Ralph Alfonso served prison time with the 32-year-old Schreiber. He told The Associated Press he doesn’t think Schreiber is intellectually capable of plotting the blaze and must have been put up to it. He says Schreiber is easily led.

Detectives say Schreiber confessed after his arrest Wednesday.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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