A 34-year-old man has been arrested after a car was set ablaze at a power facility near Las Vegas.
Mohammed Mesmarian, has been charged with committing an act of terrorism, first-degree arson, third-degree arson, destroying or injuring real or personal property of another and escape by a felony prisoner, police said, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The arrest stems from an incident at the Mega Solar Array facility near Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The facility provides power to 13 MGM properties on the Las Vegas Strip.
A Muslim is facing terror-related charges after he rammed his car through a gate at a solar plant outside Las Vegas and set his car on fire, disabling the huge facility.Mohammed Mesmarian reportedly watched the car burn. The fire caused “major damage”.https://t.co/dvxpKuSrDv
— Militant Islam Monitor (@MIslamMonitor) January 8, 2023
Police believe the incident was not part of a wider attack. Other than his age, police did not reveal any other details about the suspect.
According to KLAS-TV, an individual rammed through the gate at the facility before setting his car on fire.
Police were called to the facility at about 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday when a car was found smoldering in a generator pit.
Police believe the car was driven into the facility Tuesday after all workers had left for the day.
Citing police documents, KLAS said police have video showing Mesmarian setting the car ablaze at around midnight Wednesday.
According to those documents, Mesmarian sat in a chair watching the fire for about 15 minutes before leaving the facility.
Investigators are alleging that Mesmarian siphoned gasoline from the car’s fuel tank to put on wires near the transformer.
Unfortunately for Mesmarian, he apparently left some key clues linking him to the alleged incident in the burning car.
The burnt car yielded two laptop computers and an iPhone that contained an account linked to Mesmarian, the documents said.
Mesmarian was arrested Thursday at a campground in Boulder Beach, which is at Lake Mead.
“Mesmarian clarified he burned the Toyota Camry a couple of days ago,” KLAS quoted police as saying, adding that he told them he “burned the vehicle at a Tesla solar plant and did it ‘for the future.’”
The extent of the damage was uncertain. KLAS said an employee at the plant who was not named told police said the fire caused “major damage” and that it could be two years before replacement parts could arrive. The Las Vegas Sun said it was told by a representative for Invenergy that the Mega Solar Array facility would be fully operational this week.
“Following an incident at the Mega Solar Array facility, on-site personnel immediately notified authorities and shut down the plant’s operations as a precaution in accordance with industry-standard safety protocols,” an Invenergy representative said. “No one was injured, and we are currently restoring the facility’s full operations.”
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