A man found with a large amount of fireworks in his SUV, and a homemade turret to launch them, planned to set off the devices on the National Mall to protest the banking industry, police said.
Glenn Neff, 27, of Stuart, Fla., is facing felony charges after an officer discovered his Jeep Cherokee during a routine patrol of Cabin John Regional Park in Bethesda around 8:30 p.m. Monday, said Lt. Lauryn McNeill, a spokeswoman for the Maryland-National Capital Park Police.
After his arrest, Neff told police he did not plan to harm anyone, but Montgomery County Asst. Fire Chief Scott Graham said the man had enough fireworks to cause “significant bodily harm.”
Officers found Neff sitting in the vehicle in a parking lot in an isolated, dark part of the park, McNeill said. Neff had stopped there on his way to the Mall to detonate the fireworks, McNeill said.
When officers approached Neff’s red SUV, he got out and asked them if he was allowed to be in the park, which was closed at the time, McNeill said. Officers inspected Neff’s truck, found the fireworks and alerted fire officials, according to McNeill.
The improvised turret was atop Neff’s Cherokee, but concealed by a tarp, McNeill said. The device made of PVC pipes could be swiveled to shoot fireworks in different directions, Graham said. Neff could control it by reaching out the driver’s side window.
McNeill and Graham declined to say what type of fireworks Neff had, but said an explosives team from the fire department spent Tuesday morning inspecting them and they had been rendered safe.
Neff told officers he was specifically in the D.C. area to carry out the protest, McNeill said.
Neff was charged with possession of a destructive device, transport of a destructive device and manufacture of a destructive device. Each charge carries a penalty of up to 25 years in jail. Neff is also facing charges for possession drug paraphernailia, which was allegedly found in his car.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified of the incident.
A letter posted on Neff’s Facebook page in January said bankers and the Federal Reserve engineered the financial crisis “on purpose.” Neff said he had figured out how to get rid “of the bastards.”
And in a February post, Neff wrote:
“Notice to the Old World Order: I am coming. I am coming for you and I will spare no one. You have six days left. Make the most of them.”