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San Diego man arrested for MI mosque threat

The man accused of plotting to blow up one of the biggest mosques in the country is from Southern California.

January 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The man accused of plotting to blow up one of the biggest mosques in the country is from Southern California.

Roger Stockham, 63, was taken into custody last week outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan.

Joe Nahhas, an operations manager at the J.S. Fields bar in Detroit, told The Associated Press that a man identified after his arrest as Roger Stockham ordered a double-Scotch on the rocks on Jan. 24 and told him he planned to cause an explosion that would be "here, there, the mosque." Stockham - who is bipolar and suffers from other psychiatric disorders, according to an attorney who represented him in a previous case - was wearing a Vietnam War veteran hat and said he is a Muslim and a member of an Indonesian mujahedeen group, Nahhas said.

The bar owner called police, who quickly arrested Stockham.

Police said when officers pulled over Stockham's car, he was wearing a ski mask and traveling with open alcohol containers, spray paint and more than two dozen powerful fireworks, including M-80s, which are illegal in Michigan.

Stockham was arraigned Wednesday on one count of making a false report or threat of terrorism and one count of possessing explosives with an unlawful intent. He remained jailed Monday on a $500,000 bond. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Friday.

The fireworks, as described by police, could not have destroyed a building, but they could have been used to wound or kill people, said John V. Goodpaster, an explosives expert and assistant professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who worked for several years for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Court documents in Vermont show Stockham pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges stemming from threats made in 2002 against the U.S. president and against veterans' facilities in that state. Stockham was charged after officials say he threatened employees at a Veterans Administration hospital in White River Junction, Vt., and at a veterans' center in South Burlington, Vt. He allegedly threatened to murder the president - who at the time was George W. Bush - saying he was going to "whack the bastard."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.