Men Who Plotted To Blow Up Cleveland Bridge Had Eyes On Chicago
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The self-described anarchists charged with plotting to blow up a bridge outside Cleveland also talked about plotting acts of terror in Chicago during the NATO summit, according to a criminal complaint.
Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 37, were arrested Monday night by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.
Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, CBS News reported.
The FBI says over a period of several months, the self-described anarchists discussed various targets for acts of terror around the Cleveland area. They selected the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge as their target.
But a criminal complaint suggests at least one of the suspects also had his eye on staging or participating in some kind of attack or disruptive action in Chicago. The men had purchased inert improvised explosive devices, protective gear and smoke grenades previously, and Wright indicated that the group planned to come to Chicago after they destroyed the bridge in Cleveland.
“(A)s the surveillance and site planning ended, conversation turned to events after the bridge bombing. Wright stated that Chicago is the main place they were worried about having the protective gear because there is no telling what they might have to use there,” the complaint said.
Wright said it would be “crazy” in Cleveland after the group blew up the bridge, but “crazier in Chicago with people coming from everywhere to Chicago to protest the NATO summit. Wright also “predicted a ‘s**t load’ of people going to Chicago to protest the summit would first come to Cleveland, presumably drawn by the destruction of the bridge.
He predicted that anarchists ultimately headed to Chicago would riot in Cleveland for a week, “then everyone will leave and downtown Cleveland will ‘be a pile of rubble and ashes,’ as anarchists in every major city in the country will ultimately be ‘rioting and destroying each city,’” the criminal complaint said.
The complaint does not indicate any acts the suspects were planning in Chicago, and FBI Special Agent Ross Rice said there was no evidence developed of a credible threat to the city, or the NATO summit coming up on May 20.
The investigation in Cleveland remains ongoing. The FBI says the public was never in danger in the Cleveland area, since the explosives the men possessed were in operable.