Criminal charges are expected to be filed today against a 23-year-old man suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail into a Coachella Valley mosque last week.
Carl James Dial, 23, of Palm Desert, was arrested Friday night on suspicion of five felonies, including commission of a hate crime, arson, maliciously setting a fire and burglary in connection with the firebombing of the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley, according to Riverside County jail records.
He is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail and is tentatively due in court at the Larson Justice Center this afternoon.
Dial was arrested in the 700 block of Country Club Drive in Palm Desert and booked into the Riverside County jail in Indio.
Friday’s fire at the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley came nine days after Riverside County employee Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, killed 14 people and injured 22 others during a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2.
It was unclear whether the two incidents were related, but dozens of other threats, harassment and vandalism have one been reported at mosques nationwide since the San Bernardino shootings.
Worshippers at the Islamic Society mosque said a ‘‘Molotov cocktail-like device” was thrown into the reception area of the 1,800-square-foot building at 84650 Avenue 49 at 12:09 p.m. Friday.
Cal Fire Riverside officials said crews contained the flames to the lobby area at 12:46 p.m., but there was smoke damage throughout the mosque. No injuries were reported.
Islamic Society President Reymundo Nour said the attack occurred about an hour before the start of an afternoon prayer session, when more people would have been in the building.
Sheriff’s Deputy Armando Munoz said the department believes ‘‘this is an intentional act potentially resulting in a hate crime.”
A person of interest was ‘‘quickly identified” and detained Friday. That person turned out to be Dial.
Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies were continuing their investigation with the assistance of Cal-Fire, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI.