Two more face NATO bomb charges
BY FRANK MAIN, RUMMANA HUSSAIN AND MICHAEL LANSU Staff Reporters May 20, 2012 7:04AM
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Updated: July 1, 2012 12:40PM
Two more NATO-related bomb cases were unveiled Sunday involving a man who allegedly discussed buying pipe-bomb components and another man accused of threatening to blow up a train overpass.
Those unrelated cases were also unconnected to a case against three other men charged with plotting to firebomb President Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house and police stations and cop cars, prosecutors said.
In the pipe bomb case, Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago, allegedly met with associates at a Cook County forest preserve to discuss obtaining parts for a pipe bomb.
On Sunday, a Cook County judge ordered Neiweem held without bond for an alleged probation violation and issued a separate $500,000 bond for the pipe-bomb case. In 2010, he was convicted of punching a Chicago Police officer in the face and received probation.
Neiweem was arrested Thursday for allegedly looking to buy pipe-bomb materials, including PVC pipe, caps, glue and model rocket engines, authorities said. He is charged with solicitation for possession of explosives or incendiary devices. Also Sunday, Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago, was ordered held on $750,000 bond for allegedly saying he could blow up a train overpass with explosives and had a vehicle filled with explosives and weapons.
Senakiewicz, a native of Poland, described himself as a member of the notorious Black Bloc anarchist group and was upset at the “lack of chaos” in Chicago, prosecutors said. He also was accused of claiming he would hide some of the explosives in a hollowed-out Harry Potter book.
After he was arrested Thursday, Senakiewicz admitted he had no explosives, and none was found in the Chicago home where he was staying. No explosives were recovered from Neiweem, either, officials said.
In a separate probe, Brian Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla., Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H., and Brian Church, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were charged Saturday in Cook County Criminal Court with terrorism. They were arrested Wednesday at a Bridgeport apartment where they were staying.
Undercover police officers saw them filling bottles with gasoline to make Molotov cocktails that they intended to throw at the Obama campaign headquarters downtown and the other targets, sources said.
All five men know each other, but it’s unclear for how long they’ve been associated, a law enforcement source said.
Even though authorities say the three bomb investigations are separate, defense attorney Sarah Gelsomino said she suspects two undercover informants were involved in all of them.
A woman nicknamed “Gloves” and a man named “Moe” surfaced on May 1 and began attending activists’ planning meetings, Gelsomino said. She said she doesn’t know whether the pair are undercover cops or informants working for the police, but accused them of “working to create crimes in the City of Chicago.” She and other defense attorneys have said the Bridgeport case and the others were “set-ups.”
Sources have confirmed undercover officers were in the Bridgeport apartment that was raided Wednesday, resulting in the arrests of Church, Chase and Betterly.
Gelsomino also accused police of violating the activists’ rights by holding them in custody for longer than 48 hours without an appearance before a judge. Neiweem was in custody for 66 hours before his bond hearing and Senakiewicz for 68 hours, she said.
In another protest-related arrest, Michael Yocco, 28, of Racine, Wis., was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon and other firearms offenses after police allegedly found spring-loaded knives, a gas mask and a bag containing ammunition in the trunk of his car Saturday in the 300 block of North Canal.
Police said they believe Yocco traveled to Chicago to protest the NATO Summit.