A Florida man who broke into a mosque and left bacon at the scene was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week.
The harsh sentence came after Michael Wolfe pleaded guilty to criminal mischief to a place of worship on Tuesday, Fox News reported.
His sentence also includes an additional 15 years of probation and a ban from the Islamic Society of Central Florida Masjid Al-Munin Mosque in Titusville, according to a statement the office of the Brevard and Seminole County state attorney.
“He entered a plea deal and plead guilty to vandalizing the mosque itself with hate crime enhancement, making it a felony,”a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office told Florida Today. “He waived his right to a pre-sentencing investigation.”
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations celebrated the sentence.
“The Florida Muslim Community is suffering an unprecedented number of hate crimes,” spokesman Wilfredo Ruiz said in a statement on Wednesday. “Multiple mosques and Islamic institutions have been broken into, vandalized and even set on fire.”
The sentence was reached after prosecutors spoke to the police and CAIR.
Imam Muhammad Musri, who oversees several mosques in the area, thought the sentence was justified.
“The intent is to really deter similar kinds of hate crime. After what we’ve seen in Texas at the church, this is needed,” he said, adding that authorities uncovered a plot to attack a Jacksonville mosque last week. “Our schools, our churches, our theaters, it’s a red line. It’s heartbreaking. The hate must stop.”
According to authorities, Wolfe broke into the mosque, destroyed lighting and smashed windows before leaving the bacon.
Wolfe’s criminal history did not do him any favors in sentencing, according to Florida Today.
According to Brevard County records, Wolfe has had multiple run-ins with the law dating back to 1998, including convictions in burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and grand theft in 2004— for which he was sentenced to two years, seven months and two days in prison— and burglary of a conveyance in 2011, for which he was sentenced to 64 days in the county jail. Wolfe was also fined and sentenced to probation after a 2001 burglary and grand theft arrest when he was just 20 years old, records show.
In addition, Wolfe was found guilty in three DUI offenses, possession of hydrocodone and cannabis, and an array of traffic violations. He spent over a year and a half in total in the Brevard County Jail over the course of his sentencings.
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