Hamilton Police will present this case as a hate crime
HAMILTON Police in Ontario on Wednesday announced the arrest of three men in the Hindu Samaj Temple arson and the Hamilton Mountain Mosque mischief in September 2001.
It is alleged that between the late evening of Friday, September 14 and the early morning hours of Saturday, September 15, 2001, a large front window of the Hamilton Mountain Mosque located at 1545 Stonechurch Road East in Hamilton was broken. The damage to the window was less than $5,000.
Sometime after this mischief, a fire was started at the front doors of the Hindu Samaj Temple located at 6297 Twenty Road in Hamilton. The fire engulfed the entire building causing approximately $500,000 in damages. The investigation by the Fire Marshal’s office concluded an accelerant was used to light the fire and therefore this incident was classified as arson.
The original police investigation identified two suspects. However, the investigation later cleared both of these males from any involvement in the arson. In 2013, Hamilton Police received new information from the public regarding these two incidents.
Hamilton Police said several statements from different witnesses have been taken and the accused parties have been linked to both crime scenes. They said that they will present this case as a hate crime in view of the fact that the incident took place four days after the tragedy of 911 in 2001 and the two places of worship that were targeted by the accused parties were a mosque and a Hindu temple.
Hamilton Police made the three arrests on Tuesday. Charged with arson to property, possession of incendiary material and mischief under $5,000 is Christopher Pollard, 33, Scott Ryan, 33, and Damien Mars, 34, all of Hamilton.
Investigators believe that there are more people who have knowledge of this incident and police are asking the public to call the lead investigator Det. Dave Oleniuk at 905-546-3874 or Crime Stoppers at 905-522-8477 with information.