Shoppers in North Central New Jersey narrowly avoided a tragic attack thanks to officials who thwarted a white supremacist who was plotting to “let loose” on Black shoppers at a local mall.
According to NJ.com, on Tuesday a Brooklawn, N.J. man identified as Richard Tobin was charged with conspiring with a hate group against the rights of minorities, including Jewish people.
On the day of the planned attack, federal authorities say Tobin sat in his car, which was parked outside of the Menlo Park Mall in Edison, N.J., holding a machete and preparing to use it.
“Tobin said that he was triggered by the state of the country, such as when he saw a Pride parade or a large number of African Americans in one location,” FBI Special Agent Jason D. Novick wrote in court documents, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “There were so many African Americans around [the mall] that enraged him.”
His group, a neo-Nazi social network called The Base, refers to itself a “white protection league,” and seeks to see a version of America where the country is populated only by whites. Members are encouraged to participated in military training and prepare for the end of the world.
According to the report, “Tobin wanted to do something drastically violent, to go out in a “blaze of glory” like a suicide bombing, authorities said. He Googled “suicide by cop,” and read about creating an IED or car bomb similar to what was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.”
While his internet activity may have been disturbing, what drew law enforcement to him was an investigation into two synagogues in the midwest that had been defaced with Nazi symbols and anti-Semitic words.
On Nov. 7, a search warrant was executed at Tobin’s home in which his computer and hard drives were seized and revealed his Google searches and an internet history that showed he’s been tracking articles about the crimes he’s suspected of.
Friday, Tobin appeared in federal court in Camden, N.J., and U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen M. Williams ordered that he be held before a detention hearing scheduled for next month.