January 22, 2019 10:56 PM
GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Four suspects have been arrested and charged after Greece Police say they planned to attack a Muslim community near Binghamton.
Greece Police arrested 20-year-old Brian Colaneri of Gates, 18-year-old Andrew Crysel of East Rochester, 19-year-old Vincent Vetromile of Greece, and a 16-year-old Odyssey Academy student and charged each of them with three counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of conspiracy.
Greece Police say three of the four suspects knew each other because they were involved in Boy Scouts.
The suspects used a messaging app on their phones and gaming consoles to communicate and police believe they had every intention of carrying out an attack on the Muslim community near Binghamton.
The Greece Police Department held a press conference Tuesday about an investigation involving Odyssey Academy on Friday.
Police Chief Patrick Phelan said during lunchtime on Friday, the 16-year-old suspect showed a picture of another student to a group of kids and said: "he looks like a school shooter doesn't he."
A student at that table went to an adult about the comment which set off the entire investigation.
The student in the picture hasn't been charged with any crimes, but police say the student who showed the picture was part of the plot.
News10NBC Investigative Journalist Jennifer Lewke: "So, the juvenile offender that was part of this whole process, essentially what he did ruined their whole plan?"
Greece Police Chief Phelan: "Yep, that's correct."
Phelan said there was never a threat against any Greece school, but police say through the investigation, they uncovered the plot that the three men and one teen had to harm a Muslim community.
Investigators say they have recovered 23 rifles and shotguns, all legal weapons, from multiple homes, and found three IEDs in the home of the 16-year-old suspect.
Lewke: "Chief, how long do you believe they were planning this for?
Phelan: "It appears it's been going on for about a month."
Lewke: "So, they were able to pull together 23 guns and three IEDs in a month?
Phelan: "It looks that way, yes."
Lewke: "Chief, the IEDs themselves, did they have triggers on them? Do you know what was inside? Do you know whether they were actually able to have been set off?
Phelan: "They were homemade bombs. They're being examined right now at the FBI lab in Quantico, so they'll determine if they were capable of exploding but they were homemade bombs with various items, black powder, bbs, nails.. that type of thing."
Investigators are going through boxes of computers, cell phones, gaming consoles, and tablets to see if others were involved or if the men were getting and/or giving direction to anyone else.
Phelan said it's possible federal charges will be filed.
The district attorney tells News10NBC that she is meeting with the U.S. attorney to decide whether terrorism charges are warranted.
Scout Executive Stephen T. Hoitt from Boy Scouts of America issued the following statement Tuesday regarding the investigation:
"We are shocked and saddened to learn of allegations related to local youth at Greece Odyssey High School, who were also former members of our program. The alleged actions are in strong contrast to the values we teach in Scouting. Locally, over a quarter of the youth who live in our area go through one of our Scouting programs and it is always sad to see when our alumni appear in the news for negative reasons."
Later Tuesday evening, Scout Executive Stephen T. Hoitt released an additional statement.
"Upon learning of these reports we took immediate action to prohibit these individuals from any future participation in the Boy Scouts of America."
Watch Tuesday's news conference in its entirety below:
Updated: January 22, 2019 10:56 PM
Created: January 22, 2019 05:18 PM
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