Pen-pal of Charleston church shooter arrested in pipeline bomb plot sting in Ohio
Elizabeth Lecron purchased two pounds of gunpowder and 665 screws “that she expected would be used to build a bomb,” according to a Justice Department press release. The 23-year-old allegedly planned to blow up a natural gas pipeline she believed was polluting the environment.
Lecron had only recently become interested in environmental activism, having previously sought to “attack a farm that raises pigs or cows” with a “team” of other anarchists (who were actually FBI agents, an arrest warrant reveals) but gave up after a few weeks when she was unable to locate such a farm. Still, she “definitely want[ed] to make a statement up here,” according to the FBI.
Lecron faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. She was charged on Monday with transportation of explosives and explosive material for the purposes of harming others and property.
Authorities began investigating Lecron after one of her friends reported her plans to conduct a “violent attack.” Her social media profiles glorified mass murderers like the Columbine killers, who she described as “God-like,” and Dylann Roof, currently on death row in Indiana for murdering nine black parishioners in a Charleston church in 2015. She maintained a letter-writing friendship with Roof for several months, sending him Nazi literature in the mail.
In August, authorities searched Lecron’s residence and found an AK-47, a shotgun, several handguns, ammunition, and a bag of end caps used to build pipe bombs. She was out of town on a pilgrimage to Littleton, Colorado, where the Columbine massacre took place, giving police time to conduct a detailed search, turning up a journal with detailed plans to commit an “upscale mass murder” at a Toledo bar. It’s unclear why they chose not to arrest her then, instead sending an informant to befriend her. One informant became many. By the time she was arrested, it appears all her friends were working for law enforcement.
While Lecron was obsessed with violence and seemed to hold human life in low regard – innocent bystanders, she said, were “probably a part of the problem” – transcripts of conversations with the informants show them taking the lead in the plot. After she buys the materials, she turns them over to an informant, bidding them farewell with “I guess I’ll talk to you when the deed is done.”
The FBI, however, is relieved to have taken a dangerous criminal off the streets. “Removing Elizabeth Lecron from the ranks of civilized society by virtue of arrest and prosecution thwarts her explicitly stated desire to engage in acts of death and destruction,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato, adding a tribute to Lecron’s friend who reported her in the first place: “This case is a testament to the value of an ever vigilant public, which had the courage to alert law enforcement as to the evil goals and intentions of this suspect.”
Like this story? Share it with a friend!