A Florida man attempted to burn down a convenience store this past Friday in hopes of driving “the Arabs out of our country.”
Richard Lloyd told St. Lucie County sheriffs he pushed a dumpster in front of Met Mart and lit it on fire because he thought the owners were Muslims.
Lloyd added that “what [Muslims] are doing in the Middle East” made him angry, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff office’s news release.
“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Arabic when, in fact, they are of Indian descent,” St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said in the release.
The fire itself did not cause any damage to the store, as Met Mart had not yet opened for the day and the building’s metal shutters were still closed.
Lloyd later told detectives that he tried burning down the store down partly because he “was doing his part for America” and partly because he had tried purchasing Tropicana orange pineapple juice a few days ago, but the store didn’t carry it, according to WPEC.
Officials charged Lloyd, who is 64 years old, with first-degree arson and booked him into the local county jail in lieu of a $30,000 bond, according to KTLA.
The Florida State Attorney Office has yet to announce if they will charge Lloyd with a hate crime, depending on the results of his mental health evaluation.