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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Prosecutors have released visual evidence in the case against a Miami Beach man charged with plotting to burn down his condominium complex.
Police say that man’s intent was to kill his Jewish neighbors in a case that’s being treated as a hate crime.
Just released security video police say shows a man with a cart full of gasoline containers, bent on arson and mass murder.
72-year-old Walter Stolper was charged in July with planning to burn down his condo building in the 5600 block of Collins avenue.
Cops found 28 containers of gasoline in his unit, along with stacks of explosive chemicals.
The security video released now shows Stolper, time and again, wheeling what prosecutors say were dozens of big gas jugs off the elevator and to his apartment.
Police say he had poured eight large containers of gasoline down the building’s trash chute.
“We were minutes away from a potentially deadly situation,” Miami Beach Police officer Ernesto Rodriguez said.
Had all the gas and chemicals been set off, no question people would have been killed.
Cops were alerted by a security guard reporting a strong smell of gas in the hallways and elevators.
Additionally, a caller to 911 said Stolper talked of his plans.
“He says he has gasoline and wants to blow up the building,” the caller said to the 911 operator.
But why would this man allegedly plot arson and mass murder?
Police quote a witness who said Stolper told him, “he was going to burn down the building with all the (expletive) Jews.”
Witnesses said he often spoke harshly of Jews. Cops said he had Nazi paraphernalia in his unit.
“He was telling me that he was tired of the association in his building and these Jews in his building and he was gonna do something about it,” said witness Luis Diaz.
Police say they narrowly prevented his doing something about it.
Along with attempted murder and arson, Stolper is also charged with hate crimes.