Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train Passing Under Route 82 Bridge in October 2008. The FBI arrested five anarchists affiliated with the Occupy movement for reportedly planning to detonate IEDs along the span. Photo- Dave HymanFBI agents arrested five men on Monday evening after they planted what they believed were explosives under a highway bridge in northeastern Ohio.
The five men were “self-proclaimed anarchists,” who intended to detonate two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) under the bridge in Sagamore Hills, but had purchased the inert devices from undercover FBI agents, officials said.WJW-TV identified the five men as Brandon Baxter, 20; Anthony Hayne, 35; Joshua Stafford, 23; Connor Stevens, 20; and Douglas Wright, 26. Baxter was active with the Occupy Cleveland movement and both Baxter and the other suspects listed Occupy Cleveland as their employers on their respective Facebook accounts.
Members of the group actually "placed the devices at the base of concrete pillars ... and attempted to detonate them at a remote location" on Monday, but what they thought were bombs were actually "intert devices," the FBI said in a news conference this morning.
In the weeks leading up to Monday's arrests, the Occupy movement had been speaking of shutting down bridges in New York and San Francisco as well as sit-ins and a general strike to co-incide with May Day marches worldwide.
Closeup of Brecksville-Northfield High Bridge. Jonathan Maxwell photo via Bridgehunter.com
According to affidavits, the five were provided with inert materiel they were told was C-4 plastic expolisves. The FBI reportedly got wind of the plot from an informant on probation for drug posession and passing bad checks in Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties. The group had also reportedly discussed targetting courthouses and the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, additional highway and railway bridges in Northeastern Ohio and cargo ships on the Cuyahoga River. Members also discussed setting off smoke bombs on the Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Cleveland to distract police while they knocked down bank signs from atop larger buildings in downtown Cleveland.
The five span bridge that carries Ohio Route 82 over the Cuyahoga River and Cuyhoaga Valley Scenic Railroad is 1,130 feet long and was completed in 1931 and links Cuyhoga county with Summit County. The bridge also spans the Cuyahoga Valley National Park while route 82 itself skirts the southern suburbs of Cleveland, starting in Lorain County in the west and ending near the Pennsylvania state line to the east.