By: Melissa Toupin
A thief broke into the Masjid Al- Islam Mosque in North Smithfield early Friday morning. The Mosque, which is located on Sayles Hill Avenue, says the house of worship is locked every night. The robber pried his way in.
Much of the act caught by surveillance cameras located both inside and outside the mosque.The man made no attempt to disguise himself wearing a baseball cap and glasses, but no mask.
"This is a very peaceful community, very peaceful neighborhood, very safe neighborhood, and this is very sad that this has happened," said Imam Ikram Haq.
The Imam questions wether the thief had cased the mosque before striking. The thief was in and out in 10 minutes and seemed to know exactly where he was going, even knowing to not turn on any lights to avoid being seen by additional cameras. During the day Masjid Al-Islam is kept open so worshipers may come and pray.
"He might have come and looked at everything, where donations are, where money is and things like that and then he came for action at night time when he knew no body would be here," said Imam Haq.
The robber helped himself to the contents of 3 donation boxes and a laptop from the office. Donations, which are used to help maintain the mosque, hadn't been collected yet this week. The value of the stolen items is believed to be over $1,000.
This isn't the first time the mosque has been targeted. Over the summer a parking lot sign was vandalized. Surveillance video was also used in that case. A Cumberland man was charged with smashing the sign with a hammer.
Rattled by the incidents the Imam is now rethinking security measures.
"The financial damage is not that much of a concern for us at this moment, but obviously the protection of the mosque and the crime of theft is a big concern," said Imam Haq.
Imam Haq says a second mosque, Masjid Al-Rahman on Dunnell Lane East in Pawtucket, was robbed the same night of it's donation boxes. No word on if the cases are connected.
Anyone with information about the suspect in the North Smithfield case is asked to call police at (401) 762-1212.