Elk Grove man plotted to bomb Oklahoma churches - FOX 32 News Chicago

Elk Grove man plotted to bomb Oklahoma churches

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Police in Miami, Okla. claim Gregory Arthur Weiler II, of Elk Grove, planned on burning nearly 50 churches. (Miami Police) Police in Miami, Okla. claim Gregory Arthur Weiler II, of Elk Grove, planned on burning nearly 50 churches. (Miami Police)
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A man from the northwestern suburbs allegedly planned to burn down nearly 50 churches in Miami, Okla., officials said.

Gregory Arthur Weiler II, 23, was arrested Thursday and has been charged with two terrorism charges, according to Miami Police Chief George Haralson. Weiler, of Elk Grove, was being held without bond in an Ottawa County jail, Haralson said.

Authorities were tipped off to Weiler's alleged attacks thanks to a maintenance worker at a Miami motel, Haralson said.

Haralson credited the worker for helping police foil what could have been a "disastrous" situation for his small town.

"Every church we have in town, Weiler planned on blowing up every single one," Haralson said. "We could have potentially had a major incident on our hands."

On Thursday, the worker discovered a green duffle bag and a five-gallon fuel container in a dumpster at the Legacy Inn and Suites motel at 11:12 a.m., authorities said.

The worker called police, who discovered that the bag contained 50 brown glass bottles with cloth attached to each by duct tape, according to police and a criminal affidavit filed in Ottawa County District Court.

Police then began making background checks on all 18 people who were staying at the motel, Haralson said, adding that state law requires motels to keep copies of every customer's ID. Weiler showed an Illinois driver's license when he reserved a room, Haralson said.

As police launched their investigation, the maintenance worker started making routine checks on vacant rooms at the motel, Haralson said. About 3:21 p.m., the worker accidently walked into room 127, where Weiler was staying, authorities said.

Inside the room, the worker allegedly saw Weiler with beer bottles, another gas container, lighter fluid and bed sheets that matched the ones found earlier by police in the motel's dumpster, Haralson said.

The worker apologized, left the room and notified officers, who took Weiler into custody and obtained a search warrant for the room, Haralson said.

Investigators found a "recipe for making Molotov cocktails, a list of 48 local area churches, a hand drawn map of the listed 48 churches grouped and circled with a key detailing how many nights and how many people, and a written outline of his intent plant bombs," the affidavit said.

Weiler, who reportedly went to high school in Elk Grove Village and college at Bradley University in Peoria, allegedly confessed to police, Haralson said.

"He was quiet, reserved and very calculating in his remarks" to interrogators, Haralson said.

Haralson said investigators believe Weiler acted alone and that churchgoers should feel safe on Sunday.

Justin Gibson, who worships at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Miami, said he was shocked to find out his church could have been burned down.

"It's sad for him to consider burning any churches in Miami," said Gibson, a middle school teacher. "All of the churches are important. It's the Midwest. It's the Bible Belt."

At the home in Elk Grove where Weiler lived with relatives for a time, Weiler's cousin, John Meyers, declined to comment.

"We are not making any further statements," he said.

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