Miami Beach man planned to burn down condo to 'kill all the Jews,' police say
Police say they found Walter Stopler, 72, with gas-filled containers
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A Miami Beach man was arrested Thursday after he tried to burn down his condominium building in the city and "kill all the Jews," police said.
Walter Stopler, 72, faces charges of attempted arson and attempted murder.
Miami Beach police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said investigators received a credible tip that Stopler was planning to burn down The Pavilion residences on Collins Avenue.
Rodriguez said Stopler was angry after having recently been served with eviction papers.
Another resident of the condo told police that Stopler told him he was going to pour gasoline down the drain line of the building, ignite it and then padlock the building's fire hoses to prevent firefighters from extinguishing the flames.
Investigators later found Stopler in the parking garage of the building, pushing two plastic containers in a shopping cart. The containers were filled with gas. Investigators said they found eight more plastic containers filled with gas in a garbage chute dumpster.
According to the arrest affidavit, gas had been poured down the chute from the 15th floor -- the same floor on which Stopler lived. Investigators said the plastic containers were identical to the ones found in the shopping cart.
"I bought the gas to make a small BBQ," Stopler told police, according to the affidavit.
Rodriguez said detectives later found a storage room in the building holding 28 additional containers filled with gas, sulfur powder and potassium nitrate.
"We remain confident the work of our detectives averted a tragedy," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the state attorney's office will decide whether Stopler should be charged with a hate crime.
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