Authorities have announced an arrest in a fire that badly damaged an Islamic center in southeast Missouri.

Police say in a news release that Nicholas Proffitt was arrested Monday night for the Friday night fire at the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau. The 42-year-old Cape Girardeau man is charged with first-degree arson, burglary and felony property damage.

Officials say the charges are enhanced because Proffitt was motivated by “the religion of the people who worship at the Islamic Center.” At the time of the fire, between 12 and 15 people inside were evacuated and escaped injury.

Proffitt was convicted and served time in 2009 for vandalizing the same mosque.

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