Person of interest named in mosque arson

Person of interest named in mosque arson

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by Colin Miner, KGW Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on December 3, 2010 at 6:56 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 6 at 8:57 AM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Law enforcement officials Monday searched the home of a 24-year-old from Corvallis whom they believe is a person of interest in the arson at a mosque there the day before.

Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson told KGW that police searched the home of Cody Crawford on Northwest Polk Avenue and seized several items including empty propane bottles, a bic lighter, cameras, a white powdery substance, asmall metal wire with burned fire material and a computer.

“Our investigation has not let up,” Haroldson told KGW. “We are running a focused and disciplined investigation.”

According to affidavit, police encountered Crawford the afternoon of the fire when an FBI agent and detective interviewed him as they canvassed the neighborhood.

They determined his house, where he lives with his mother, is made of the same red brick that was found in the mosque where a window had been broken.

Crawford's neighbors were suprised to hear that he was a person of interest in the case.

"He's been really nice, really kind," said neighbor Darla Saling.  "He mows the lawn for me.  He shoveled all the snow when it snowed last week.”

“If that was him, it would be shocking,” said neighbor Mohammed Alferhan, who worships at the mosque.  "You cannot judge the person if you don’t have all the evidence against him.”

Crawford, who the affidavit states refused to take a lie detector test or allow his house to be searched, told police that he believed anyone responsible for the plot to attack Pioneer Square should be sent to jail or back to their country of origin.

He also claimed to have read on a blog that people at the mosque set the fire themselves. Investigators returned the next say with a search warrant.

Crawford is on probation after being convicted last year in Washington County of assault. Sources tell KGW that the seized material is being analyzed and it’s unlikely there’s any arrest before next week.

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