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Press Release

Indiana Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Religiously Motivated Attack On Toledo-Area Mosque

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

An Indiana man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for hate crimes stemming from the arson of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, law enforcement officials announced today.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary sentenced Randolph Linn, 52, of St. Joe, Indiana. Linn pleaded guilty in December to three counts: (1) intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious real property because of the religious character of that property; (2) using fire to commit a felony and (3) using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence.

 “Defendant Randy Linn attempted to burn down a mosque because of the religion of its members,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Roy L. Austin Jr.  “The Civil Rights Division will continue to partner with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country to ensure that anyone who desecrates or burns a place of religious worship because of the creed practiced there is brought to justice.”

Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said: “Hate crimes like this seek to damage more than buildings, they take aim at our American way of life. But today’s 20-year prison sentence and the coming together of this community to support our Muslim neighbors show that our freedoms are stronger and more resilient than this man’s hatred.”

Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office, said: “We are pleased that Randall Linn got a significant sentence for his destructive act of setting fire to a sacred place of worship. The FBI, along with its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, remains committed to protecting the rights of all citizens to practice their chosen religion by enforcing the laws that defend those liberties.”

“This sentence is the culmination of the tireless efforts of so many agencies to bring this case to justice,” said Robin Shoemaker, Special Agent in Charge, Columbus Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “Criminal damage to a house of worship is taken very seriously by ATF.”

According to court documents, Linn left his home on Sept. 30, 2012, in a red four-door Chevrolet Sonic. Inside the vehicle were numerous firearms and three red gas cans.

Linn stopped at a gas station near Perrysburg, Ohio, and filled the three gas can, then drove to the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. Linn made numerous efforts to enter the Islamic Center before gaining entry. He walked through several rooms with a handgun in his left hand before exiting, then returning with a red gas can, according to court documents.

Linn then entered the prayer room on the second floor and poured gasoline on the prayer rug, a large Oriental-style rug used by members of the Islamic Center during prayer services. He then set fire to the prayer rug, according to court documents.

Linn acknowledges he intentionally set the fire because of the religious character of the Islamic Center property, according to court documents.

Linn agrees to pay restitution and understands that the amount may exceed $1 million due to the amount of fire and water damage sustained by the Islamic Center, according to court documents.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bridget M. Brennan, Ava Dustin and Special Assistant U.S Attorney Gwen Howe-Gebers.

This case was investigated by the Perrysburg Township Police Department, the State of Ohio Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated March 12, 2015