WASHINGTON — The FBI announced Monday it made arrests in two separate terror plots near Toledo, Ohio. Both suspects had been talking about and planning the attacks for months, authorities said.
According to the FBI, Elizabeth Lecron was obsessed with the idea of carrying out mass murder. She was arrested Saturday after she purchased black powder and screws for making a bomb. She told an undercover agent she wanted to target a Toledo bar, and also discussed bombing a pipeline or attacking a farm, officials said.
“She stated she had been involved in a plan to commit an ‘upscale mass murder,’ as she called it,” said Jeff Fortunato, an FBI assistant special agent in charge.
According to court documents, Lecron was active on social media. On Tumblr, she posted “photographs and comments glorifying mass murders like the Columbine shooters and Dylann Roof.”
Roof, a white supremacist,in a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015.
In the weeks leading up to her arrest, Lecron wrote to Roof in prison. According to court papers, he wrote back, asking her to “mail him several books about civil uprisings and the Nazis.”
In the second Toledo case, the FBI said 21-year-old Damon Joseph, who investigators believe was radicalized by ISIS online, planned to target two Toledo area synagogues. Court papers allege he praised the October attack on a synagoguein Pittsburgh, telling an undercover FBI agent, “My opinion is the Jews are evil and they get what’s coming to them.”
Fortunato said Joseph wanted to carry out a similar mass shooting.
“Days ago, he provided an undercover employee a draft plan which outlined general operational and logistical considerations for an attack,” Fortunato said.
In both cases, it was the words and the actions of the suspects that caught the attention of investigators. Because the FBI was tracking these cases for months, investigators said the public was not in danger.