Rochester Man Charged With Planning New Year’s Eve Machete Attack on Behalf of ISIS

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A 25-year-old man in Rochester has been arrested and charged with preparing to stage a New Year’s Eve machete attack on diners at a local restaurant on behalf of the Islamic State.

The man, Emanuel L. Lutchman, is accused of gathering knives, a machete, ski masks and zip ties as part of his plan to raid the restaurant and possibly kidnap someone, taking advantage of what a self-identified Islamic State member overseas described as his position “behind enemy lines.”

Mr. Lutchman appeared in federal court in Rochester on Thursday on a charge of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as he pursued a goal of eventually joining the terrorist organization overseas.

“This New Year’s Eve prosecution underscores the threat of ISIL even in upstate New York but demonstrates our determination to immediately stop any who would cause harm in its name,” William J. Hochul Jr., the United States attorney in Buffalo, said in a statement.

Earlier in December, a pizza shop owner in Rochester pleaded guilty to recruiting people and raising money for the Islamic State.

The criminal complaint against Mr. Lutchman describes how his hatred of life in the United States motivated attempts to contact Islamic State sympathizers and pull together support for a plot, despite his not having enough money to buy basic weapons or much apparent expertise in carrying out an attack.

The complaint says he has a criminal history dating to 2006, including a robbery conviction that led to a five-year prison term, as well as contact with the authorities related to his mental health. It also identifies him as a self-professed Muslim convert.

Information about a lawyer for Mr. Lutchman was not available.

The investigation relied on undercover informants, some of them paid by the government, who prodded Mr. Lutchman for details of his plan and promised to help him.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Benjamin Mueller