Men Arrested in Bridge Bombing Plot Have Ties to Lakewood, Occupy Cleveland
One was involved in Occupy Cleveland protests last summer.
At least two of five men arrested in connection with an alleged plot to blow up a bridge in Brecksville have ties to Lakewood.
Brandon L. Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, — who were arrested along with Douglas L. Wright, 26 — have been known to live in Lakewood.
In all, FBI has arrested five people who are accused of conspiring to use explosives on a bridge in Brecksville in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
On Friday, Baxter celebrated his 20th birthday at the Root Café on Detroit Avenue. He was quiet.
He ordered cookies.
Julie Hutchison, the co-owner of the Root, said she knew Baxter from the Occupy Cleveland protests last summer.
She remembers him as a “punk-rock kid,” who “kept to himself.” She said he originally was from Lakewood, but had been living on the streets more recently.
Hutchison said Baxter — and the others she knew who participated in the protests last summer — do not represent the Occupy Cleveland movement.
“I knew him to be a part of the Occupy Cleveland movement, but (he) in no way represents Occupy Cleveland,” Hutchison said. “I think it’s bad for any kind of movement to take action like this that could be catastrophic."
Lakewood resident Jamie Kocinski said she first met Baxter at Lakewood High School, where they were classmates. She saw him again last summer at the Occupy Cleveland protests.
It never came about.
“We’re not doing this to try to force people to join our movement,” he told Lakewood Patch at the time. “We’re just trying to give people who want to join our movement a chance to listen, and we want to listen to what they have to say, as well.”
The FBI said in a press release the public was not in danger, and an undercover FBI employee had controlled the explosive devices. In addition, the explosives were inoperable.
Baxter, Wright and Hayne are being charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.
The arrests were made Monday night by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, an FBI press release said.
Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, also were arrested. Charges are pending.
The men had been monitored by local law enforcement before the arrests. A criminal complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland this morning. The men will appear before a federal magistrate in U.S. District court today.
The defendants considered a variety of plots in the Cleveland area before settling on the state Route 82 bridge from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the release said. The three who are charged with conspiracy are self-proclaimed anarchists.
Brecksville Patch editor Rachel Abbey McCafferty contributed to this story.
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