What to Know
- Officers arrested 72-year-old Walter Stolper and charged with one count of attempted first degree arson.
- Officers arrived at the complex located at 5601 Collins Avenue and found Stolper pushing a shopping cart with two containers full of gas.
A Miami Beach man is behind bars after police say he plotted to set an apartment building on fire, stockpiling containers of gasoline and reportedly telling residents he wanted to "kill all Jews" in the process.
Officers arrested 72-year-old Walter Stolper and charged with attempted murder and attempted first-degree arson. He was still being held on $7,500 bond as of Friday morning.
According to an arrest report, officers arrived at the complex located at 5601 Collins Avenue and found Stolper pushing a shopping cart with two containers full of gasoline.
Detectives later found a storage room linked to the defendant containing 28 containers filled with gasoline, sulfur powder and potassium nitrate.
A witness told officers they could smell gasoline from inside the building, with police also discovering eight empty containers that had been filled with gasoline and dropped down a trash chute from the 15th floor.
Miami Beach Police inspected the building and deemed it safe without having to evacuate any residents.
Witnesses told police that Stolper had been upset about recently receiving an eviction notice, with one saying that Stolper had said he was going to burn down the building with “all the (expletive) Jews."
The witness added that Stolper also said he had purchased fans to use in an effort to maximize the damage inside as well as padlocks he was planning to put on fire hoses to prevent first responders from putting out his planned blaze.
Police searched his unit inside the apartment, finding two fans as well as items with swastikas on them along with books on Nazi ideology.
"We remain confident the work of our detectives averted a tragedy," police said in a statement.
The FBI and State Attorney's Office are assisting in the investigation.