A suspect is accused of planning to plant explosives at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, according to officials.
Luke Isaac Terpstra, 30, of Michigan, was arrested by the Grant Police Department on Jan. 2 and charged with Explosives – Possession of Bombs with Unlawful Intent in connection with the allegations he planned to plant explosives at the place of worship. Terpstra visited Salem in November 2023, possibly for planning purposes, according to Salem Police.
The Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are actively involved in the probe.
Police said there is no indication that Terpstra had local allies in Salem or that he acted with any accomplices.
“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,” Salem Police said in a press release. “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 continued. “Regardless, an attack such as Terpstra was planning keeps us up at night.”
Salem Police said it will continue to patrol sensitive locations, investigate criminal activity and continue its partnerships with other law enforcement agencies. The department also stressed the importance of contacting police if they witness suspicious activity or learn of threats.
Mayor Dominick Pangallo and Police Chief Lucas Miller “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,” according to the release.
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