The whole world is stunned and on edge after the horrific mass shooting in New Zealand that was live-streamed online. With tensions as high as they are, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that police departments across the U.S. have been keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. Now, one individual has been arrested in Phoenix for reportedly threatening a mosque.
The suspicious individual, later identified as 40-year-old Noel Becht, was taken into police custody after visiting the United Islamic Center of Arizona. According to both the police department and witnesses, Becht entered into the area at around 7:30 P.M. He began verbally expressing how he was interested in the Muslim religion, so he was eventually asked to join the members in a prayer service.
Becht accepted the invitation and sat in prayer briefly. A short time later, he stood up and began wandering around the mosque. Witnesses explained how Becht began entering into rooms that are not open to the public. Upon entering one restricted area, Becht began asking the individuals about service times and inquiring about another mosque located in Tempe.
One of the mosque’s leaders approached Becht and questioned what he was doing. That’s when the suspect reportedly made a threatening gesture. He allegedly brought his finger to his neck and made a sawing motion towards the leader.
Becht is being charged with disorderly conduct, threatening and intimidating and trespassing. He’s currently being detained at the Maricopa County Jail. Authorities have also taken precautionary steps to increase the surveillance around all local mosques for the time being.