Neo-Nazis Blackmail Power Grid in Bid to Free Bumbling Bank Robbery Suspects

A white supremacist seething over the continued detention of two neo-Nazis accused of conspiring to rob an Upstate New York bank threatened to attack the U.S. power grid if the bumbling pair were not released and left unmolested by law enforcement.

That’s according to a bulletin issued in April by the South Dakota Fusion Center, a component of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Fusion Center System, which combines local, state, and federal resources in the effort to track and investigate criminal and terrorist threats. The document, which is marked “For Official Use Only” and was first obtained by The Daily Dot via a Freedom of Information Act request, says the threat was posted to Telegram by an unidentified individual who shared four diagrams of electrical grid transformer equipment along with two terse demands:

“1. Release our men 2. Leave them alone there after [sic]. Failure to do so will result in more attacks on infrastructure.”

It was displayed under the heading, “Free Doc Grimson and Luke Kenna,” which refers to an online alias used by Michael Brown Jr., 41, and alleged co-conspirator Luke Kenna, 43. The hapless duo were arrested late last year after Kenna’s tan minivan was pulled over by police in Gloversville, New York for a minor traffic violation. When the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed that his walkie-talkie’s signals seemed to be getting jammed, according to the federal complaint charging Kenna and Brown with conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Kenna, dressed in all-black from head-to-toe, including a ballistic vest, told cops he didn’t have any ID on him. But a diary sitting next to him on the front seat contained a step-by-step bank robbery scheme laid out in full, the complaint says.

“Its [sic] coming up to the end of the year and I am flat broke with nothing but a gun and a dream,” Kenna wrote in the diary on Nov. 19, 2022, the complaint states. “I’m going to fulfill my destiny one way or another. And It’s going to take bold action to do so. I have already set in motion a plan to start it all off. I’m writing a ‘screen play’ [sic] on a movie about 3 guys that rob a small bank and set off with a large amount of cash and get set up for things to come so as to keep their families safe and sound, Protected.”

The diary entries and messages found on Kenna’s cellphone further implicated Brown, a Pennsylvania native, and a third man, 29-year-old Virginia resident Brian Tierney, who was arrested in January, according to court records.

Brown pleaded guilty in June, and is awaiting a Nov. 3 sentencing date. Kenna is set to plead guilty on Aug. 17, according to court records. Brown’s attorney, Lauren Owens, declined on Wednesday to discuss the matter, saying she does not comment on active cases. Kenna’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. As of Aug. 9, Tierney is still set to go to trial on Oct. 30.

In an email Wednesday afternoon, Tierney’s lawyer, Terence Kindlon, told The Daily Beast he entered into “some negotiations” on behalf of his client with prosecutors two weeks ago, but that they didn’t reach a resolution. Pending an Aug 14 consultation with Tierney, his case proceeds apace, Kindlon said.

After robbing the bank with Brown and Tierney, Kenna planned to hold up a restaurant where he once worked, in order “to throw some terror into them for payback and also to get some funds up,” the complaint says.

According to investigators, Kenna runs Tyr Tactical Training, teaching “‘primitive’ survival skills.” The Tyr rune is an ancient Germanic symbol that was “appropriated by the Nazis in their attempts to create an idealized ‘Aryan/Norse’ heritage,” according to the ADL, which said the so-called warrior rune was used by the leadership schools of Hitler’s brownshirts and at least one Waffen SS infantry division. The complaint against Kenna, who has been connected to the Wolves of Vinland, a neo-pagan hate group with roots in Virginia, says his social media profiles feature imagery “consistent with white supremacist ideology,” including the Nazi “Black Sun,” confederate flags, and “pagan symbols/runes.”

Brown, a former paramedic, runs a neo-Nazi Telegram channel and sells knives and training courses through a company called Black Market Tactical. The trio allegedly began cooking up the bank robbery in mid-November 2022, discussing their plans in a group chat on Threema named the “SS Screenwriters Guild.”

Tierney went by the screenname “Wodanaz,” which the complaint against him says is “likely a reference to the god in Germanic and Norse paganism also known as ‘Woden’ or ‘Oden’ associated with death, war, battle, and royalty.”

The three men agreed to split the loot equally, according to prosecutors. Kenna suggested the crew “not take too long planning, ya know, some people take years and years, it’s a little too much, and not take too short, not to just jump in and do it like a junkie,” the complaint against him states. It says Kenna was eager to get “this paper jew money while it lasts,” according to a message he wrote to the others.

Physical attacks on the U.S. power grid rose by more than 70 percent in 2022, compared to a year earlier, a CBS News analysis found. Domestic extremists pose the most acute and immediate threat, according to experts.

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