A 23-year-old University of Maryland student identified as "exalted cyclops" of a Ku Klux Klan lodge, was charged yesterday with six cross-burnings in Prince George's County, one count of making bomb threats and two of manufacturing pipe bombs.
Maryland State police who made the arrest, said the lodge was planning to bomb homes of blacks and the offices of the NAACP in Prince George's and planned to recruit persons to blow up communications facilities and a generating plant at Ft. George G. Meade near Laurel.
A Prince George's County grand jury has summoned witnesses in an investigation of KKK activities.
Arrested at his parents' home in Ellicott City, Md., at 6 a.m. was William M. Aitcheson, a University student studying radio, television and film who was identified by State Police as "exalted cyclops" - leader - of the Robert E. Lee Lodge of the Maryland Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
State Police spokesman Bill Clark said the arrest resulted from tips from undercover investigators who had infiltrated the Klan. He said officers searched home and found nine pounds of black powder and "several" weapons and bomb components in Aitcheson's bedroom and the basement of the house.
"The KKK has been a stable group over the last few years, but recently there has been a dramatic increase in activity," said Clark, who said cross-burnings are on the increase.
He estimated that the Robert E. Lee Lodge had a dozen members. United Press International quoted official estimates that there are 500 members of various KKK groups in Maryland.
Of the Robert E. Lee Lodge, Clark said: "It appears that this particular group was just getting organized and developing a scheme to place explosives and five bombs at specific locations."
He did not say why Ft. Meade might be a target for bombing. The facility is both First Army headquarters and home of the supersecret National Security Agency.
Clark said the Prince George's grand jury has summoned a Marine guard at Ft. Meade, a Baltimore prison guard and a Klan "grand wizard" from Montgomery County.
At a press conference yesterday, Prince George's County Fire Chief Frank P. Briguglio said his fire investigators had solved more than half of the 17 cross-burning incidents that occurred in the county in the past two years.
Briguglio also said more arrests are expected in connection with cross-burnings. "The investigation is not over yet," he said.
The cross burnings with which Aitcheson is charged allegedly occurred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville last March 14, Beth Torah Synagogue on March 26, at home in University Park on April 9, the University of Maryland Adult Education Center on April 22, the Hillel Foundation in College Park on Sept. 3 and a private home in College Park on Jan. 30.
The penalty for unlawful cross burning, according to Prince George's County fire officials, is 90 days and or a $500 fine.
The suspect's father, William W. Aitcheson, acknowledged that his son was a member of the Klan. He said he would not comment on his son's beliefs because: "If you aired the issues, it wouldn't help because those with beliefs contrary to the Klan . . . would believe it was a white wash."
The father, who also said he did not believe in the tenets of the Klan, said his son recently had joined the organization. "My son, along with others, are just caught up in it . . . I don't know what their thoughts are."
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] little boy the KKK was quite a thing. little boy th GGG was quite a thing. They used to hold carnivals in the Beltsville area. Everybody but colored people, Catholics and other minorities attended. I don't know if their sympathies were for the movement, but they had a good time."