Man accused of threatening, intimidating at a Phoenix mosque

March 17, 2019 - 1:26 pm

PHOENIX (AP) — A man has been arrested for allegedly threatening and intimidating members of a northwest Phoenix mosque.

Police say 40-year-old Noel Thomas Becht was taken into custody Saturday night on suspicion of trespassing, disorderly conduct and threatening and intimidating.

Authorities have ramped up surveillance around local mosques since a man opened fire Friday on two mosques in New Zealand, killing 50 people.

Phoenix police say Becht entered the United Islamic Center of Arizona, said he was curious about the Muslim religion and asked to sit in on a prayer service.

He later entered rooms he wasn't permitted to be in without invitation and asked unusual questions regarding mosque service times.

When questioned by one of the mosque leaders, Becht allegedly put his finger to his neck and made a sawing motion.

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