“Mohammad stated he burned the vehicle at a Tesla solar plant and did it ‘for the future.’”
An Iranian man faces terror-related charges after ramming his car through a gate at a solar plant outside Las Vegas and setting his car on fire, disabling the facility, reports 8 News Now.
Around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Las Vegas Metro police responded to a solar plant on U.S. 93 north of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Employees at the plant said they found a car smoldering in a generator pit.
The Mega Solar Array facility provides energy to MGM properties but is run by a company called Invenergy.
The driver, later identified as Mohammad Mesmarian, 34, is accused of ramming through a fence and setting the car on fire. The vehicle is registered out of Idaho.
Police suspect Mohammad drove through the fence Tuesday afternoon after employees had left for the day. It was not until midnight. Wednesday, when video reportedly shows Mohammad setting the car on fire, documents said.
Documents said that Mohammad reportedly watched the car burn, sitting in a chair for about 15 minutes before walking off.
Investigators also believe Mesmarian siphoned gasoline from his car to put on wires at the transformer.
Police found an iPhone in the burnt car with an account connected to Mohammad. Police also found two laptops.
Police located Mohammad at a campground on Thursday, a day after the fire, in Boulder Beach at Lake Mead. It was unclear how Mohammad made it from the solar site to Boulder City, a 30-mile drive.
“Mohammad clarified he burned the Toyota Camry a couple of days ago,” police said. “Mohammad stated he burned the vehicle at a Tesla solar plant and did it ‘for the future.’”
Metro police said a person from Republic Services, near the solar plant, called police earlier on Wednesday about a person who was trespassing, documents said.
Police noted numerous recent attacks on power infrastructure in recent months.
Mohammad faces charges of committing an act of terrorism, arson, destroying or injuring real or personal property of another, and escape by a felony prisoner.
An employee at the plant said the fire caused “major damage,” estimating it would take two years to receive replacement parts, police said. In addition, the damaged unit remained shut down due to the fire, and the plant was not producing electricity, police said.
“Following an incident at the Mega Solar Array facility, on-site personnel immediately notified authorities and shut down the plant’s operations as a precaution in accordance with industry-standard safety protocols,” an Invenergy spokesperson said, “No one was injured, and we are currently restoring the facility’s full operations.”
Mohammad was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on several felony charges, including committing an act of terrorism, first and third-degree arson, and destroying or injuring real or personal property of another.
Also, police say while he was in Mitchell’s custody, Mohammad attempted to escape officers and flee; he is also charged with escaping by a felony prisoner. Judge Danial Westmeyer ordered him held without bail.
A background check by Channel 13 News reveals Mohammad’s most recent address is in Aurora, Colorado. He also had a speeding offense in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2018. At this time, the investigation continues. However, detectives believe that the suspect acted alone, as Mohammad is due back in court Tuesday.