Richard Lloyd, a Florida man who told police he wanted to “run the Arabs out of our country,” was arrested after trying to commit an arson targeting an Indian-owned convenience store.
Lloyd, 64, was arrested for first-degree arson in Port St. Lucie, Florida after he allegedly set a convenience store trash dumpster on fire in an effort to burn the store down.
Lloyd was trying to burn down the Met Mart store at 100 Prima Vista Blvd. in Port St. Lucie, Florida, after he came into the store earlier in the week and became angry with the owner because they didn’t sell his favorite kind of orange juice. Lloyd told police that he was “doing his part for America” when he returned to the shop on Friday to burn down the building, which he believed was owned by Muslims, although it is actually owned by Indian-Americans.
“When the deputies arrived, they noticed the dumpster had been rolled in front of the doors and the contents were lit on fire,” Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said in a statement. “Upon seeing our deputies, the man put his hands behind his back and said ‘take me away.’” The store was closed at the time.
“The man, identified as Richard Lloyd, was read his Miranda Rights and then told deputies that he pushed the dumpster to the front of the building, tore down signs posted to the outside of the store and lit the contents of the dumpster on fire to ‘run the Arabs out of our country,’” Mascara said. “It’s unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Muslim when, in fact, they are of Indian descent,”
Deputies said that he told them his plan was to get a big enough fire in the dumpster to catch the building on fire and once it was burning he thought the alcohol from the beer and wine inside would burn it to the ground.
Lloyd was booked into the St. Lucie County Jail on a charge of first-degree arson. He will be given a mental health evaluation and it will then be up to the State Attorney to determine if Lloyd’s act was a hate crime.