Md. Father Told Police Of Alleged Bomb Plot
Saturday, June 10, 2006
The father of a Prince George's County man accused of planning to bomb an abortion clinic said last night that, despite his own opposition to abortion, he felt he had no choice but to turn his son in.
"It's just something that he believed in very fervently, and in my opinion he went way over the top," Robert F. Weiler Sr. said in an interview. "We became aware of what he was doing, and we felt obligated to contact the police."
So on Sunday, more than a week after their 25-year-old son disappeared from their home and stopped returning their calls, Weiler and his wife, Catherine, called Prince George's County police to report their suspicions, he said. That tip led to their son's arrest -- but not until more than three days later. Police, he said, "sent two officers out to interview us and took our statement, and then we heard nothing back from them."
"In frustration, I contacted the FBI on Monday, and again I heard nothing back," said Weiler, 49, an administrator at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.
Weiler said it appeared to him that the investigation did not move significantly until Wednesday, when agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrived at his home in Forestville for a six-hour visit.
Early Thursday, Robert Weiler Jr. was taken into custody at a rest stop in Western Maryland. By dawn, the pipe bomb he allegedly built and stored at a friend's house in the Riverdale Heights area had been partially detonated by bomb squad technicians working to disarm it.
The younger Weiler, who allegedly planned to attack a clinic in College Park, was charged with illegally possessing an explosive device and other offenses. He is expected to appear Monday at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
Weiler Sr. declined to say specifically how he and his wife learned of their son's alleged plans. ATF spokesman Mike Campbell said the parents reported that their son had stolen $3,400 from the family and that they feared he would use it to finance such an attack.
Yesterday, the clinic provided investigators with evidence that the younger Weiler had demonstrated there last month, according to a clinic employee who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for her safety. Clinic volunteers photographed Weiler one Saturday as he videotaped women and clinic workers, the employee said.
According to an affidavit signed by two ATF agents, Weiler admitted planning the attack and also told investigators that he intended "to shoot doctors who provided abortions." A loaded gun was found in the glove box of his car at the time of his arrest, the affidavit says.
Lt. Col. Vincent C. Gay, head of the county police Investigative Services Bureau, said he believed the elder Weiler called Monday with information about a handgun and concerns that his son might be making a bomb. The tip was reviewed by supervisors, Gay said, and on Tuesday or Wednesday they made contact with the ATF.
"That's when everything started rolling," Gay said, noting that the house and another location had been under surveillance for at least part of those few days. The ATF's Campbell said he believed county police informed his agency about noon Wednesday.