PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Leaders in Arizona's Islamic community are urging mosques to tighten up security procedures after the deadly shootings in New Zealand and an arrest a Phoenix mosque.
Noel Thomas Becht, 40, remained jailed Monday on charges of threatening and intimidating conduct after investigators say he started wandering through the United Islamic Center of Arizona and made a sawing motion across his neck with his finger during a conversation with a mosque leader.
According to court documents released Monday, Becht followed the mosque leader into his office without being invited. The leader told police Becht moved his finger in a sawing motion numerous times.
The leader told investigators the gesture confused him, so he asked Becht what it meant.
"Noel replied 'Nothing, I'll tell you later," officers wrote. The leader "took it as if Noel wanted to behead him."
"We thank the Phoenix Police Department for its quick response to this incident," said CAIR-Arizona Executive Director Imraan Siddiqi in a statement Monday.
The incident happened Saturday, one day after the attacks in New Zealand.
"As the global Muslim community is reeling from the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand -- where 50 Muslims were killed in their house of worship by a white supremacist and Islamophobic extremist -- we must continue to remain vigilant. It is important for each mosque in our community to be in an ongoing dialogue with law enforcement to build or enhance a comprehensive security plan."
CAIR-Arizona sent out 16-page guide to mosques with suggestions on improving locks, fencing, security cameras, alarms and tips on building an overall security plan.
Araceli Villanueva of CAIR-Arizona said police noticeably stepped up patrols at Valley mosques last weekend after the attacks, and she hopes those additional sweeps will continue.
"We need to make sure that we have security at all times, especially right now," she said.
Becht was booked on charges of threatening and intimidating, disorderly conduct and trespassing. As of Monday, he was in custody in lieu of a $3,000 cash bond.
Phoenix police say Becht entered the United Islamic Center of Arizona on 35th Avenue Saturday around 7:30 p.m. and claimed he was curious about Islam.
Members of the mosque invited him to sit in on a prayer service, but police say Becht began wandering around the facility, entering rooms and areas he was not permitted to be in. Associate Imam Fawaaz Hossen said worshipers noticed Becht taking notes and checking out surveillance cameras.
He also asked unusual questions regarding service times at this Mosque and a Mosque in Tempe, police said, before making the sawing motion across his neck.
"Our people, they are being very careful," said Hossen. "So when he made these gestures, naturally speaking our mind automatically went to that incident in New Zealand."
Public records show Becht is originally from Washington state and has no significant criminal history.
His next scheduled court appearance is March 25.