Police investigating St. Cloud mosque burglary as possible hate crime

Law enforcement officials say a burglary at the St. Cloud Islamic Center is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

St. Cloud police say officers were called to the mosque at around 4:11 a.m. Thursday after an employee found the building had been damaged.

Investigators learned that a man and woman had damaged a door to get into the mosque, then caused more damage inside and ransacked an office before fleeing.

Within a few hours, officers tracked the suspects to a nearby hotel and arrested a 23-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman. Police say video surveillance confirmed they were the only two involved in the burglary.

The department says it is working with the FBI to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.

Additionally, police are adding extra patrols to local Islamic centers and mosques, the department says.

The incident comes just a few days after a mosque in Minneapolis was burglarized and vandalized.

Anyone with information on the St. Cloud Islamic Center burglary is asked to call St. Cloud police at 320-251-1200 or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-255-1301.