Five arrested in suspected bridge bombing plot near Cleveland
Five people, claiming to be anarchists, have been arrested in Cleveland for trying to blow up a four-lane bridge across the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The public was never in danger from the devices, according the FBI. The explosive devices were inoperable and controlled by an undercover FBI agent. Charges against the suspects were filed Tuesday morning in Cleveland.
Douglas Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon Baxter, 20, of Lakewood, Ohio; Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland; Connor Stevens, 20, of Berea; and Joshua Stafford, 23, of Cleveland were arrested Monday and charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive material to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.
The men appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon with their court-appointed attorneys. Their cases were continued until a bond hearing scheduled for Monday, May 7, said a spokesman for Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
The men remain in federal custody.
The suspects were targeting the state Route 82 bridge that spans the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to Cleveland TV station WEWS. More than 13,000 vehicles travel over the bridge each day, and 2.1 million people visit the national park each year, the station reported.
The suspects had bought fake explosives and placed them near the bridge Monday. The suspects were arrested after 9 p.m. Monday, the station reports.
The suspects had considered a series of plots over several months. Among the alternative targets was the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, according to WEWS.
The suspects' initial plot involved the use of smoke grenades to distract law enforcement in order to topple signs of financial institution on high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland, according to the federal complaint.
One of the suspects had said during the planning of the attacks that they were against corporate America and financial institutions, and not for merely random acts of violence, the complaint states.
The plot later developed to the utilization of explosive materials, and the five men allegedly conspired to obtain C-4 explosives contained in two improvised explosive devices to be placed and remotely detonated, according to the complaint.
One of the suspects, Wright, had talked about driving a car into the Federal Reserve Bank to blow it up, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The FBI's Cleveland office is displaying a photo of the apparent bridge in question, according to WEWS-NewsNet5 in Cleveland. The state Route 82 bridge is in Brecksville, south of Cleveland.