By Julia Jones | CNN
Editor’s note: This story uses reporting across Michigan and details of the allegations against 13 men accused in a domestic terrorist plan. None of the men has yet entered a plea.
The Vac Shack sits in the middle of a row of single-story shops in a commercial part of Grand Rapids, Michigan, between a beauty salon and a taco joint.
Adam Fox had moved into the basement of the vacuum repair shop after his girlfriend threw him out. The owner, Briant Titus, was a hometown friend who hoped the younger man he’d helped to get through high school would soon get back on his feet.
At the corner of the shop, across from vacuum filters, attachments and hoses, a white door opens into a storeroom. In it, two flights of stairs under a wooden cover lead down into a dark basement cluttered with spare vacuum parts, a dog crate, and camping gear. At the end of a long hallway, there seems to be another room where the lights are on.
It was in this basement room that Fox, 37, and several other men are accused of meeting on June 20 this year to discuss how to vent their anger at officials they thought were violating the Constitution. It spiraled into a terrorism plot, officials, say, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the target of a kidnapping scheme.
Fox, a man named Barry Croft from Delaware and 13 others, had met up in Dublin, Ohio, two weeks earlier, after exchanging messages online, the criminal complaint from the FBI states. It was about three months into the shutdowns forced by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and many were frustrated by their states’ closures of gyms, bars, and much of usual life.
But Fox and 11 others wanted to go a step further. In their view, Michigan and several other states were violating the US Constitution, and they talked about killing “tyrants” and “taking” a governor. They reached out to some armed groups to add manpower and might, the complaint said, including members of a local armed group called the Wolverine Watchmen. The Watchmen had been flagged to the FBI in March, and one of its members was now an informant.
That informant, others on the inside, as well as undercover operatives and recordings, allowed the bureau to monitor what was happening from then on.
At a rally in Michigan’s capital, Lansing, in favor of the Second Amendment on June 18, Fox and Ty Garbin, the leader of a local armed group, talked about attacking the capitol building as a way to recruit more like-minded people, the FBI says.
During the meeting in the basement two days later, Fox, Garbin and others discussed what an attack could look like, whether Molotov cocktails would be used, the criminal complaint says. Apparently suspicious, Fox took the phones of all in attendance before showing them the way to the stairs. But the informant still had what in court documents was referred to …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment