At a Glance | May 8

Ocean County: Point Pleasant Man Charged With Plotting to Detonate Pressure-Cooker Bomb in New York City

A Point Pleasant man was plotting to build a pressure-cooker bomb (similar to the one shown in the photo) and detonate it in New York City in support of ISIS, federal prosecutors said on May 5. Gregory Lepsky, age 20, was charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. He was taken into custody on February 21, after a family member notified Point Pleasant police that Lepsky said he had a weapon and was going to kill the family dog. When officers responded, Lepsky came out of the house, bleeding from one of his arms. According to the criminal complaint, while being treated by paramedics, Lepsky said that he planned to kill his mother and that he had pledged his allegiance to “Allah.” He further stated that he had stabbed the family dog because, in his view of Islam, a dog was “dirty.” In the house, officers found a dog with a large slash wound to its back, but still alive.

During a search of the residence, officers found a pressure cooker that had been stored behind a roll of bubble wrap in Lepsky’s closet, as well as several books on jihad and suicide bombing.

According to the criminal complaint, Lepsky said he had joined ISIS and had plane tickets to Turkey. While being transported to a hospital, he told medical personnel, in the presence of law enforcement officers, that he had communicated with ISIS through social media and that he planned to use a pressure cooker to make a bomb and place it in a busy area of New York City to “kill as many people as possible.” He said that he had watched several videos related to bombmaking on the Internet. He further told a hospital employee that he was trying to be a suicide bomber, but that the police caught him while he was planning the attack. On February 22, Lepsky spontaneously told a police officer that he planned to purchase black musket gunpowder online and use it in the pressure cooker that he had in his room, according to the criminal complaint. He also said he regretted trying to kill the family dog, because if he had not done so, he believed police would not have discovered his plan.

Investigators also searched Lepsky’s cell phone and found that he had conducted research on how to make a pressure-cooker bomb—specifically, the article in Inspire magazine, published by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), titled “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” The article includes detailed instructions for building a pressure-cooker bomb. It also lists the items needed, including a pressure cooker, a timing device, and wooden matches—which were found in the Lepsky residence.


Anarchists: Philadelphia Vandalism Indicates “Anti-Gentrification” Violence May Be Spreading to the East Coast

On May 1, vandals associated with the anarchist movement attacked luxury cars and newly built apartment buildings in a Philadelphia neighborhood, indicating that “anti-gentrification” violence may be spreading to the East Coast. Anti-gentrification vandalism and arson—protesting the influx of more affluent residents into declining urban neighborhoods—have been reported on the West Coast, in the Midwest, and in Canada since 2011, but last week’s vandalism spree in Philadelphia indicates that this phenomenon could become a threat in other regions as well.

In the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, a group of 30 to 50 people, wearing all black, smashed windows in newer buildings, damaged high-end vehicles such as Mercedes and BMWs, and spray-painted anarchist symbols and profanity. One of the signs left in the neighborhood said, “Gentrification is Death, Revolt is Life” (see photo). Two suspects associated with an anarchist group were arrested after neighborhood residents reportedly held them until police arrived. They have been charged with causing a catastrophe, criminal mischief, and other offenses.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.