By Tara Law
August 10, 2019

A Las Vegas security guard who allegedly plotted to attack a synagogue and the LGBTQ community is facing criminal charges for owning the parts of a bomb, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada announced in a statement on Friday.

Conor Climo, 23, was arrested Thursday morning on charges of possessing an unregistered firearm and for allegedly owning parts of an explosive device at his home in Las Vegas, the statement said. He was arrested after an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is led by the FBI.

Throughout 2019, in encrypted online messages with members of the neo-Nazi group the National Sociality Movement, Climo allegedly talked about attacking a Las Vegas synagogue and building explosive devices such as Molotov cocktails. In the messages, he used racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs and described “conducting surveillance” at a bar he believed to be a meeting place for the LGBTQ community, the complaint said.

Climo allegedly also admitted that he had tried and failed to recruit a homeless person to help him scope out a synagogue and other locations for a potential attack.

The complaint also said that law enforcement seized a notebook with hand-drawn plans for an attack in the Las Vegas area and drawings of timed explosive devices.

If convicted, Climo could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The arrest comes less than a week after a white supremacist gunman murdered 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. In the days since the attack, many people have expressed concerns that the U.S. law enforcement has inadequately addressed white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI Las Vegas Division said that the arrest shows that the Las Vegas Task Force is committed to fighting domestic terrorism.

“As this complaint illustrates, the FBI will always be proactive to combat threats that cross a line from free speech to potential violence,” said Rouse in the statement.

United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada praised the investigators for their work in a statement.

“Threats of violence motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities have no place in this Country,” said Trutanich.

Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen expressed relief on Twitter that law enforcement “was able to act quickly and prevent this from becoming a tragedy.”

Write to Tara Law at tara.law@time.com.

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