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Motel worker key in stopping bomb plot

Oct. 10, 2012 at 5:48 PM   |   Comments

MIAMI, Okla., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Officials say the curiosity of a motel maintenance worker who found incendiary devices in a dumpster may have thwarted the bombing of Oklahoma churches.

"I had taken the trash out when I noticed this real nice bag," said Ralph Smith, 23, maintenance man at a Miami, Okla. motel. He called police after finding the military-style duffel bag contained 50 apparent Molotov cocktails, the Tulsa (Okla.), World reported Wednesday.

Police arrested Gregory Arthur Weiler, 23, of Elk Grove Village, Ill., the presumed owner of the duffel bag. Weiler was a hotel guest, but prevented housekeeping personnel from entering his room for several days, hotel desk clerk Steve Ballenger said.

"We have a policy. Every three days we go do a visual check," he said.

When hotel personnel entered Weiler's room, they found material similar to the contents of the duffel bag, and called police again, who found a list of 48 local churches and a hand-drawn map to the churches in the room, the arresting affidavit said.

He was traveling through Oklahoma to Kansas City, Mo., police said.

Police chief George Haralson said the listed churches included 46 in Miami and two in nearby Fairland, adding, "He was going to hit two or three churches a night."

Weiler was charged Friday with possession of an explosive or incendiary device and violation of the Oklahoma Anti-Terrorism Act, and remained in Ottawa County jail without bail

Police said Weiler's Facebook entry of Sept. 20 mentioned loneliness, a hope that "someday in the future, someone will take notice," and a reference to the "Imperial Catholic Church," the (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman reported Wednesday.

His aunt, Joanne Meyers, told the Chicago Tribune her nephew suffers from mental illness and that both his parents were suicides and drug users.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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