Vandalism was ‘a random act and not a hate crime’
ROCHESTER HILLS — A Rochester Hills man has been arrested in connection with the vandalism of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center earlier this month.
Ryan Lee Ahern, 33, was arraigned Oct. 16 in 52-3 District Court on one charge of misdemeanor malicious destruction of a building, which is punishable by a maximum of a year in jail.
Ahern was released from custody after paying $1,000, or 10%, of his $10,000 cash or surety bond. At press time, his next court date, a pretrial conference, was scheduled for Dec. 1. Ahearn’s attorney, Jeffrey Jacob Franklin, could not be reached for comment at press time.
Deputies from the Rochester Hills substation say they were called to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center, 1730 Auburn Road, on a report of a damaged door at around 6:39 a.m. Oct. 9.
Upon arrival, deputies were told that mosque members had discovered a single pane of glass smashed out of a main entry door that morning.
Upon reviewing surveillance video, deputies said a male subject was recorded walking the perimeter of the mosque, in the general direction of the damaged door, at around 9:30 p.m. the night before.
Detectives from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said they were able to identify Ahern using surveillance video from the community center. They believe a hammer was used to break the glass, according to reports.
Ahern was arrested at his home without incident the afternoon of Oct. 15.
Deputies said they believe the vandalism was “a random act and not a hate crime,” adding that Ahern is “a person of interest” in other acts of vandalism in the area.
A similar act of vandalism happened at the Walgreens Drug Store, 2985 Crooks Road in Rochester Hills, when a drugstore drive-thru window was smashed in two spots around the same time the community center was vandalized. The two buildings are about a quarter of a mile apart, reports said, but detectives have not linked Ahern to the Walgreens vandalism.
“Anyone that damages property we will vigorously investigate and hold accountable,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement. “I commend our detectives on quick and good police work locating and arresting this individual.”