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Homeowner of Ovid house searched during Whitmer kidnapping investigation not arrested

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 7:12 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - One of several search warrants served in the investigation into an alleged plot to kidnap or kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer involved a residence in the Shiawassee County town of Ovid.

Law enforcement officials raided the home on M-21 around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The homeowner wasn’t arrested, but said his house was raided because he was a member of the Facebook group where some of the plotting against Whitmer allegedly took place involving militia members.

The homeowner, who was shaken up by the ordeal Thursday, is not facing any charges and said investigators don’t believe he was involved directly with the plot. But police took his computer, cell phone and guns as part of the investigation.

The plot began forming in March involving several militia members angry about Whitmer’s use of executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic, according to court documents. Embedded undercover FBI agents infiltrated the group and confidential sources led to Wednesday’s announcement of 13 arrests.

Federal prosecutors announced charges against six suspects while Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced state charges against seven other suspects.

The Shiawassee County man joined a Wolverine Watchmen group on Facebook, believing it was a Second Amendment rights organization. Shortly after joining, he said someone made him an administrator of the group’s page, so he became in charge of allowing people into the group and had the ability to delete what he wanted.

As the administrator, the man told ABC12 News he tried to ban several people who he said were “talking about weird stuff, about doing nefarious things.” He didn’t want to be a part of that activity and left the group around March.

But federal court documents show the FBI has been watching that group since March. Looking closer at their plan, it appears they almost carried out the alleged plot less than a month ago on Sept. 12, but someone backed out.

The complaint says they planned to kidnap Whitmer at her vacation home in northern Michigan and they even conducted organized surveillance of the residence while planning a very violent attack, which included plans to bomb a bridge and prevent police from being able to get to the home.

The group allegedly detonated an improvised explosive device at a training session this fall to use during the attack.

After hearing about Thursday’s announcement, the Ovid man said he doesn’t agree with Whitmer’s politics, but nobody deserves to die for their political views. He believes guns should be used to preserve life, not take it.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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