Cops: Teens charged in Del. mosque vandalism, allegedly targeted house of worship at random

Delaware State Police have arrested three teens in connection with the vandalism of a Newark, Del. mosque last week.

The Islamic Society of Delaware, located at 28 Salem Church Rd., was damaged at some point between midnight and 4:30 a.m.

A vinyl fence was broken, a wooden sign was knocked down and an LED message sign was shattered, touching off a joint investigation by Delaware State Police and the FBI.

Authorities said two concerned citizens came forward Monday with information about teens who allegedly committed the crime.

After following up on the tips, investigators took into custody Monday night three 16-year-old Newark males.

Officials with the Council of Islamic-American Relations Monday afternoon expressed concerns the vandalism may have been a hate crime, as the suspects allegedly fashioned a cross from the debris and stuck it into the ground outside the mosque.

But police said the teens appeared to have committed the act at random.

“After a thorough and comprehensive investigation by the Delaware State Police and the FBI, there was no conclusive evidence to show that this act of vandalism was directed, targeted or focused towards the Islamic Society of Delaware because of its religious affiliation or intended to intimidate the Islamic community," Sgt. Paul G. Shavack of the Delaware State Police said Monday night in a statement.

“We have determined that it was a random act of vandalism, and have no evidence at this time to support classification as a hate crime.”

All three teens were charged with one count each of criminal mischief and second-degree conspiracy.

One suspect was released on $4,000 bond, while the second was released on $2,000 bond.

Police said the third teen was jailed at a juvenile detention center on $2,000 bond.