Richard Tobin, 19, of Brooklawn, dubbed the nationwide campaign “Operation Kristallnacht,” after a 1938 pogrom in which German Nazis slaughtered more than 90 Jews and burned their homes, synagogues, stores and schools, Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachael A. Honig said.
Tobin told a federal judge via video conference Friday that he “implored” two other members of “The Base” to break windows and slash tires, among other destruction, in mid-September 2019.
Federal authorities said he urged them to “tag the sh*t” out of the synagogues and that “if there’s a window that wants to be broken, don’t be shy.”
Soon after, members spray-painted hate symbols on synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin, and Hancock, Michigan, on consecutive days, Hong said.
Rather than go to trial, Tobin cooperated with federal authorities – reportedly identifying the two comrades – and was offered a plea deal.
One of them, Yousef Omar Barasneh, has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin for his role in vandalizing the synagogue in Racine.
U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler scheduled a June 28 sentencing hearing for Tobin’s guilty plea to a similar charge.
The Base – which is a rough English translation of al-Qaida – has trumpeted an all-out war of violence and terror on Blacks and Jews
Members had communicated through a secure online networking system that federal agents crashed after seizing several devices from Tobin.
Among the discussions found were the “recruitment of prospective members, the creation of a white ethno-state, acts of violence against minorities, military training camps, and ways to make improvised explosive devices,” an FBI complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Camden says.
Tobin, in particular, had an “obsession with neo-Nazi propaganda, terrorism, and acts of mass violence,” including footage of a mosque shooting, searches for ISIS, and information on bomb-making, the complaint says.
He’d even considered becoming a suicide bomber, it says.
“Tobin stated that there was a time when he was at a mall in Edison, New Jersey, and there were so many African Americans around that it ‘enraged’ him,” the FBI reported. “That day, he had a machete in his car, and he wanted to ‘let loose’ with it.”
Tobin’s hatred against the two groups was “based solely on their religion or the color of their skin,” Honig said Friday. “Americans should never have to fear racist, anti-Semitic or any other form of bias-motivated violence.”
The U.S. attorney credited special agents of the FBI Philadelphia Division’s South Jersey Resident Agency, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and its member agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the New Jersey State Police and the Camden County Police Department, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.
She also thanked the Brooklawn and Cherry Hill police departments for their assistance.
Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen M. Harberg of Honig’s Camden office Trial Attorney Eric Peffley of her Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.
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