A suspect has been arrested after the authorities claim he was planning to put explosives in the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, according to Fox News Digital. The temple has old and contemporary art on display for visitors, including works from Salvador Dali and a statue of Baphomet.
Luke Isaac Terpstra, 30, originally from Michigan, was taken into custody by the Grant Police Department on January 2. He was charged with Explosives – Possession of Bombs with Unlawful Intent in connection with an alleged plan to put bombs inside the temple.
The report noted Terpstra had visited Salem in November 2023, but the specific nature of his visit is not clear. The FBI and Michigan State Police are also involved in the investigation.
The authorities said there is no evidence that Terpstra had allies in Salem or that he had any accomplices in the planned attack, according to the Fox News Digital.
WBTS reported that Salem Police released a statement, saying: “The City of Salem and the Salem Police Department recognize that it is frightening and concerning that there are individuals who would threaten or carry out violent attacks against others based on their beliefs and that we are a target.”
“On the one hand it is gratifying that our federal and local partners were able to thwart Terpstra. On the other, it is terrifying that he walked in our midst planning such violence.”
“It is for this reason, we maintain a presence on the Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF), we maintain an explosive ordinance detection K9, we participate with our partner agencies in the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), we train our officers for such an attack, and we carry additional armor in our cars,” the release said.
“Regardless, an attack such as Terpstra was planning keeps us up at night.”
The Salem authorities said they planned to keep a close watch for any other suspicious activity. They mentioned that it is planned violence like this that they keep an explosive ordinance detection K9 and actively take part in the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council. Their police officers also carry additional armor inside their vehicles, per the report.
Mayor Dominick Pangallo and Police Chief Lucas Miller said they “believe it is important that the people of Salem be aware of this arrest and its connection to our city. Salem is a diverse, vibrant, and welcoming community and the City and the Police Department of Salem are committed to ensuring the safety of all who live in, work in, or visit our community.”
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