Suspected Rutgers University Islamic center vandal arrested

An arrest has been made nearly two weeks after an Islamic center at Rutgers University was broken into and vandalized.

Jacob Beacher, 24, of New Brunswick, N.J., has been arrested and charged with one count of damage to religious property and one count of making false statements to federal authorities, the Rutgers University Police Department said. He is accused of smashing windows at the Center for Islamic Life around 4:30 a.m. on April 10 while the building was unoccupied. After getting inside, the vandal stole a Palestinian flag, ruined artwork and broke TVs and printers, according to the group.

The suspect, whose actions were captured on surveillance footage, caused approximately $40,000 in damage and also took at least one charity box belonging to the center.

The box was later found at nearby Buccleuch Park. Investigators found cellphone data that indicated Beacher had been there shortly after the break-in occurred.

The incident coincided with the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Two days later, he allegedly lied to an FBI agent and claimed he did not break into the building.

Beacher also faces additional state charges, possibly for bias crimes.

The suspect is not affiliated with the school, officials said.

“We applaud and appreciate the efforts of federal and state law enforcement who have been diligently investigating,” Islamic Center director Atiya Aftab said in a statement. “We have been kept apprised of the investigation as it took place and we express a sense of relief and safety knowing that the suspect is in custody. We look forward to the process of justice being meted out.”