What to Know
- Gregory Lepsky, 20, of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, faces charges of attempting to join and support ISIS
- Federal prosecutors say they found a new pressure cooker in Lepsky's house
- Lepsky allegedly told law enforcement he planned to detonate a bomb in New York City
A New Jersey man has been arrested for allegedly planning to set off a bomb in New York City in support of ISIS, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Gregory Lepsky, 20, will appear in Newark federal court to face once charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Lepsky was arrested Feb. 21 after a relative called police and said he had threatened to kill the family dog. While being treated for wounds to his arms, Lepsky said he had joined ISIS and had plane tickets to Turkey, according to a criminal complaint.
While searching his home, authorities found a brand new pressure cooker hidden in his closet.
Lepsky subsequently claimed, while in the hospital, that he had been in contact with ISIS members via Facebook and that he had been studying how to make a pressure cooker bomb with gunpowder, the complaint says.
"Lepsky also stated that he was going to take the pressure cooker and gunpowder to New York City, bring the items into a crowded area of Manhattan, and blow it up to kill people. Lepsky explained that he would be rewarded in the afterlife for this act," the complaint said.
Further investigation revealed that Lepsky had multiple conversations on Facebook in which he said he had converted to Islam and wanted to go to Syria to fight non-believers, according to court documents.
A search of his phone turned up a variety of anti-Semitic images, the ISIS flag and a picture of an armed Lepsky dressed in fatigues and making pro-ISIS hand gestures, the complaint says.
Lepsky is not the first local man to be arrested in recent months for attempting to join ISIS. In March, the FBI arrested a Long Island man who tried to travel to Syria to join the terror group, and last November a Brooklyn resident was arrested with similar plans.
Lawyer information for Lepsky was not immediately known. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the criminal charge.