ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Muslim man in New York has been arrested and charged with offering material support to terrorists after officials foiled a terror plot that he planned to carry out at a restaurant Thursday night.
Emanuel Lutchman, 25, was arrested on Wednesday by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after his plan to attack patrons at Merchants Grill in Rochester was discovered through undercover work.
“[A]s part of Emanuel Lutchman’s attempt to provide material support to ISIL, he planned to kill innocent civilians on New Year’s Eve in the name of the terrorist organization.” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin in a press release on Thursday. “Thankfully, law enforcement was able to intervene and thwart Lutchman’s deadly plans.”
The FBI describes Lutchman as “a self-professed Muslim convert with a criminal history dating back to approximately 2006 … as well as previous state mental hygiene arrests.” It states that Lutchman told an undercover informant that he had been in discussions with a “brother” who is a part of ISIS, and that he wanted to travel overseas to join the group.
“Lutchman expressed his hatred for everything American and his intention to make hijra (migrate) and leave America, which he referred to as the land of the kuffar (infidel),” Special Agent Timothy Klapec wrote in an official affidavit.
In the complaint, Klapec outlined that the ISIS contact allegedly told Lutchman that he needed to prove that he supports the terror group, and had advised, “New Years is here soon. Do operations and kill some kuffar.”
Lutchman therefore planned to either use a pressure cooker to bomb a location or “kidnap a couple of people and kill them.” In choosing the latter, he and the informant bought a machete, duct tape, knives, ammonia, latex gloves and zip ties as they plotted the attack.
The two also discussed making a video where Lutchman would pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. After recording a statement on his mobile phone, Lutchman was arrested.
“This New Year’s Eve prosecution underscores the threat of ISIL even in upstate New York but demonstrates our determination to immediately stop any who would cause harm in its name,” said U.S. Attorney William Hochul.
“What began as an ISIL directive to harm the community ended with the arrest of this defendant and a message for any other individuals considering similar behavior: You will be caught, you will be prosecuted, and you will be punished,” he continued. “While law enforcement is well equipped for such investigations, the public is reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. I assure members of the public that the excellent work of our law enforcement partners with the cooperation of the public is the best way to ensure the safety of our community.”
If convicted, Lutchman faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.