UPDATED: Brooklawn Police Chief Shamus Ellis was asked if his department had any problems with Tobin recently. "This was an FBI Investigation so as instructed, I will need to refer you to the FBI Philadelphia Field Office. Prior to this investigation, I don't believe we have had any negative encounters with Tobin. As for whether he was a fireman I do not know his exact status with the Fire Department."
William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews
CAMDEN CITY, NJ (Nov. 17, 2019)—White supremacist Richard Tobin, age 18, of Brooklawn, was charged last week in U.S. District Court, Camden City, with conspiring with a hate group against the rights of minorities, including Jewish people, according to NJ.com
Brooklawn is a small community of 1,934 people located on the Delaware River. It is often described by local residents as "God's Little Acre".
Federal authorities say that Tobin had planned to attack black people at a Menlo Park Mall in Edison, New Jersey and schemed to “let loose” with a machete on visitors inside the mall.
Tobin allegedly said, according to federal authorities, “There were so many African Americans around that it ‘enraged’ him,” and blamed the turmoil in the country as the reason for his hatred. He never went through with that deadly plan.
The group he belongs too, which calls itself a “white protection league,” advocates for a country populated only by white people. Its members practice “doomsday prepping" (preparing for the end of the world), and encourage participation in military training.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tobin spoke openly with investigators about his involvement in an online forum for white supremacists identified in court papers only as “Group 1.”
Details from that affidavit correspond to an invitation-only social media network known as The Base, which caught the attention of extremism watchdogs last year. The network was founded by a purported veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the goal of uniting white supremacists across the country and inspiring them to carry out violent attacks.
According to NJ.com law enforcement was drawn to Tobin while investigating two synagogues defaced in the midwest in September. One, in Michigan, was marked with the group’s symbol and swastikas on Sept. 21. Another in Wisconsin was defaced the next day with those symbols and anti-Semitic words.
The name of that group or those synagogues were not identified.
Tobin allegedly directed the gang’s "Great Lakes Cell” from his Brooklawn residence, ordering an “Operation Kristallnacht,” a reference to Nov. 9-10, 1938, when Nazis in Germany burned down synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes and businesses, and killed about 100 Jewish people.
“Tag the s--t" out of the synagogues, he told them, according to the court filing. “If there’s a window that wants to be broken, don’t be shy.”
Authorities executed a search warrant at Tobin’s home on Nov. 7, seizing his computer, a gaming system, and hard drives. The computer evidence showed the concerning Google searches and an internet history that included several news articles about the synagogues.
Besides those items there was a video of someone firing at people in a mosque, documents about making plastic explosives, and photos of racist violence, guns.
The past Friday Tobin appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen M. Williams. The judge ordered Tobin held before a detention hearing scheduled for next month.