California man arrested with pipe bombs may have targeted Newsom

Authorities think Ian Benjamin Rogers is threatening Newsom, Twitter and Facebook in texts to fellow Three Percenters.

California Governor Gavin Newsom may have been the target of an attack by a far-right extremist who is a radicalized supporter of Donald Trump. 

In a Napa County courtroom, Ian Benjamin Rogers was charged this week after federal authorities discovered five homemade pipe bombs on Jan. 15 when searching his home and his auto repair business. 

Ian Benjamin Rogers was charged in a Napa County courtroom this week after federal authorities discovered five homemade pipe bombs, bomb-making materials, a cache of weapons and 15,000 ammunition rounds when searching his home and auto repair business. (Napa County Sheriff’s Department)

They also confiscated materials for making bombs, 49 firearms and 15,000 rounds of ammunition. 

The Los Angeles Times is reporting Rogers may have been targeting Newsom, as well as the headquarters of social media giants Twitter and Facebook, which are located in the greater Bay Area. 

The report notes he sent text messages which read, in part, “Let’s see what happens then we act” and later added, “I’m thinking sac office first target” and “Then maybe bird and face offices.”

Read More: Chad Wheeler released from Seahawks following felony domestic violence charge

Authorities assert Rogers is threatening Newsom in his mention of “sac office” plus the work campuses of Twitter and Facebook via talk of “bird and face offices.”

The affidavit filed by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Squad says a sticker on Roger’s vehicle identified him as a member of the Three Percenters, a far-right fringe group that ascribes to extreme anti-government, pro-gun beliefs. Their name is a reference to the belief that only 3 percent of American colonists fought against the British during the American Revolution. Several members have also been charged in connection with their involvement in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building. 

Read More: Judge OKs Weinstein bankruptcy plan with $17M for victims

Another message reportedly in Rogers’ phone read: “I want to blow up a democrat building so bad,” and “The democrats need to pay.” 

Rogers, the owner of British Auto Repair of the Napa Valley, also allegedly wrote: “I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn’t I will.” 

A spokesperson for the governor said Newsom is aware of the arrest and fully cooperating with the investigation. 

Read More: Apple to crack down on tracking iPhone users in early spring

“The information contained in the federal criminal complaint regarding Ian Rogers is an all too real reminder of the frightening consequences dangerous political rhetoric can have, especially in emboldening violent extremism,” Sahar Robertson said Wednesday in a statement. “Our democracy depends on the ability of all lawmakers regardless of party affiliation to be able to legislate and execute their duties without fear of violence.”

In addition to federal charges, Rogers is facing 28 felony charges in state court for weapons possession, possession of explosives, possession of an illegal silencer and multiple unregistered assault weapons. His arraignment is tomorrow, and he faces 30 years in prison if convicted.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!