ALBANY, N.Y. - The two local men who allegedly schemed to create an X-ray radiation emitting device to kill targeted people are scheduled to appear in Federal Court Thursday afternoon for a detention hearing.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation out of Albany has arrested and charged Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, of Galway and Eric Feight, 54, of Hudson with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists by use of a weapon of mass destruction.
The alleged plan was fueled by Crawford's hatred of Muslims, officials say; the truck-mounted radiation emitting device Crawford claimed would be like "Hiroshima on a light switch" and "everything would be dead by the morning."
The lengthy, undercover investigation began in April 2012. At that time, authorities received information that Crawford had approached local Jewish organizations seeking out individuals who might offer financial assistance in helping him with a type of technology that could be used against people he perceived as enemies of Israel.
The 67-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Albany states that their scheme was to create a mobile, remotely operated, radiation emitting device in trucks "capable of killing targeted individuals silently with lethal doses of X-ray radiation."
Investigators found Crawford, a General Electric manufacturing employee, recruited Feight, a contractor with Genius Industrial Solutions who regularly worked with GE, to help him with the design and construction of the device.
The complaint said Crawford and Feight sought to allegedly use this device against "unwitting victims who would not immediately be aware that they had absorbed lethal doses of radiation, the harmful effects of which would only appear days after the exposure." Their idea was to put the systems in trucks to be lit with a plug-in cigarette lighter.
Officials said Crawford targeted Muslims and several other groups that he perceived as hostile to the interests of the United States, individuals he refers to as "medical waste."
The affidavit stated, "According to Crawford, the technology was approximately 100 years old, but could deal with Israel's enemies by making them die in their sleep."
The FBI said this was an undercover investigation and, unbeknownst to the defendants, the device they allegedly intended to use was rendered inoperable at all times when tested and posed no danger to the public.
Officials said Crawford, a self-proclaimed member of the Ku Klux Klan, also traveled to North Carolina to meet with leaders of the KKK to present his scheme and solicit funds.
The FBI conducted a raid at General Electric in Schenectady Tuesday in connection to the investigation. A raid was also conducted at Shorty's Auto Body shop on Route 40 in Schaghticoke; however, it is unclear if that is connected.
General Electric released a statement Wednesday saying:
"On Tuesday afternoon, the FBI informed GE that Glendon Scott Crawford, a GE manufacturing employee, was arrested for a criminal act. We have no reason to believe the act took place on GE property nor is there any information indicating that our employees' safety was ever compromised. Since this incident, Mr. Crawford has been suspended. We are cooperating fully with authorities on their investigation."
Members of Barkersville Christian Church sat outside Crawford's home on 171 Hinds Road in Galway Wednesday, telling the NEWS CENTER they were called to come to the residence to pray for the family even though the family members weren't home.
The church members said they did not hear of the arrest besides what they heard on the news and did not wish to speak about the allegations.
They told the NEWS CENTER Crawford and his wife were "great people."
Crawford allegedly brought his idea in 2012 to the congregation Gates of Heaven, a Jewish synagogue in Schenectady.
According to Rabbi Matt Cutler, Crawford tried to discuss a device which was being created to protect Jewish people. Although Cutler said Crawford did not get into details about the actual device, secretaries inside the temple were thinking of a way to get Crawford out of the building.
The secretaries, scared by the bizarre plan Crawford discussed, called the police immediately and notified the Jewish Federation he was headed their way.
Security has now been increased at the synagogue.
The U.S. attorney's office said 14 months of undercover police work went into preventing the plot from being carried out.
"Undercover officers, coupled with court authorized wire taps, surveillances, a lot of manpower went into this," Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan said.
He said the device was intended to be mobile, so it could be moved from one place to another. It was intended and designed to turn on remotely from far distances and remain on while it was emitting dangerous levels of radiation.
"I think in this case, you see a couple individual extremists here trying to emulate the larger groups. They are trying to recruit additional supporters and knowledge and expertise to help them," terrorism expert Rick Mathews said. "So I see this as more of a parallel to a much larger scale with bigger organizations."
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