Undercover federal agents on Friday arrested a man they believe was plotting to bomb a synagogue in Colorado over the weekend, according to a federal affidavit.
According to the Denver Post, 27-year-old Richard Holzer described himself to federal agents as a skinhead and former member of the Ku Klux Klan. The agents said in the documents that they had arrested Holzer in a motel room as he was examining what he thought to be functioning pipe bombs that were prepared for him by federal agents. He had also brought a knife and mask into the room, according to the documents.
The FBI agents began communicating with Holzer through Facebook on Sept. 28, according to court filings. Evidence of his violent beliefs piled up: photos of him with weapons, Mein Kampf, and other white supremacist symbols; participation in aggressively anti-Semitic online chats; a swastika armband; messages expressing support for the Holocaust; a video of him holding a machete and asking: “may the gods be with me for what I must do.”
He allegedly talked of killing Jews in online forums and shared a video of himself checking out the synagogue he was allegedly targeting, Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, Colorado. He allegedly said he paid a “witch doctor” to poison the synagogue’s pipes with arsenic last year.
In late September, three undercover agents met with Holzer in a restaurant, where Holzer proposed bombing the synagogue with Molotov cocktails. “I want something that tells them they are not welcome in this town,” he allegedly said. The agents mentioned there was a chance people might be in the building when he attacked it. According to the filing, he said he thought that was unlikely, “but that if they were, Holzer would not care because they would be Jews.”
The agents met with him several more times. He allegedly told them he was preparing for a racial holy war and that he wanted to “go out with a final act for the movement.” He also said that after “phase two”—the bombing—he would move on to a larger “phase three” outside Pueblo.
Holzer was charged with attempting to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs by force using explosives. He could face up to 20 years in prison.
It has been just over a year since the white supremacist attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people.