BOSTON - A Wilmington man was arrested Monday for threatening a local mosque and Muslim community on Facebook, the United States Attorney’s Office said.
In an affidavit, investigators outline the reasons they believe Patrick Keogan, 44, should be charged with threatening to harm people and burn down the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) in Roxbury.
The documents show a threatening message posted to the ISBCC’s Facebook page depicting a mosque surrounded by flames, with the message: “burn your local mosque.”
Investigators say Keogan posted that message and also posted the same threatening image to a Facebook page for the Islamic Society of Northeastern University.
When officials began investigating Keogan and his Facebook profile, they say they found anti-Islamic rhetoric and a number of posts celebrating destruction of property at other mosques.
Rosey Wolfe lives in the same neighborhood as Koegan. She told FOX25 that the FBI, local, and state police were busy at Koegan’s home all day.
“I just heard helicopters going overhead in this area. Not going anywhere. I wasn't sure what was going on,” Wolfe said.
On a Facebook post saying someone vandalized the Islamic Center of Burlington’s sign, investigators say Keogan wrote, “WHOEVER DID THIS I (expletive) LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 … I drive past thes [sic] all the time & have always wanted to run the (expletive) sign over.”
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center gave FOX25 the following statement.
"We want to thank the US Attornies office and FBI for pursuing the threat we had reported. During these times, we have to be vigilant, and are grateful that law enforcement is taking these threats seriously. This arrest sends a clear message to the American Muslim community and communities throughout America that our city, state and country as a whole embraces our Muslims. Standing together as one community is what extremists on both sides detest."
Keogan, a convicted felon, has also been charged with illegally possessing ammunition.
According to the affidavit, Keogan was reported to law enforcement in 2013 by a coworker for allegedly making threats against the U.S. Congress. The affidavit states Keogan has a felony conviction for OUI second offense in 2000 and a felony conviction for assault and battery with a deadly weapon in 2006.
Court documents claim Keogan continued to own, buy, sell and trade guns and ammunition based on his Facebook activity. Investigators also say they tracked Keogan to a gun store in New Hampshire, where they say he bought bags and boxes of ammunition and took them back home.
Keogan could face up to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release with a possible fine of $250,000.
In court Tuesday he was denied bail and he is expected to appear in court again on Thursday.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.