Walter Edward Stolper, 72, a resident of Miami Beach, who blamed his Jewish neighbors for his eviction from his condo, at 56th Street and Collins Avenue, vowed to burn down the building with “all the [expletive] Jews.”
Stolper has been charged with attempted murder after detectives searched his storage unit and discovered 28 containers with gasoline and explosive materials. Police acted on a tip they received Thursday night and were able to stop Stolper in the condominium complex parking garage, hauling two plastic containers full of gasoline. Police also found gasoline-filled containers in the building’s dumpster.
A Miami Beach Police spokesman told the press on Friday: “We do believe that we were minutes away from a potentially deadly situation.”
Police say they discovered artifacts adorned with swastikas and Nazi books in Stolper’s 15th floor apartment.
Luis Diaz, who alerted the condo management, who in turn alerted police about Stolper, told CBS Miami: “He told me he was tired of the association and the Jews in the building and he wanted to do something about it. He said he wanted to burn down the building. At first, I didn’t think he was serious but then I heard him talk about blocking the fire department and their hoses, I realized he was serious and I had to do something.”
Police said Stolper had purchased two electrical fans to boost the flames and maximize damage. He also bought padlocks he planned to use on the doors of the nearby firehouse, to delay firefighters’ response. He also destroyed the smoke detector in his apartment, which is hardwired to the building’s fire alarm system.
When asked about the gas in the containers he was carrying, Stolper told the officers, “I bought the gas to make a small BBQ.”
“I’m a family guy and I have kids and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to them,” Stolper’s neighbor Diaz said. “I think he needs help. He is a confused older man. I have been his friend for 10 years and I know him because I am a camera technician and have done work for him. At first, I thought he was just angry and venting but I realized it was much more.”
Another condo owner, Rafael Solar, told CBS Miami, “This is a crazy madman and he has done some stuff before. He has dirtied up the carpet before.”