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New Jersey man is accused of plotting attack in Vermont

(The following article by John Holl was posted on the New York Times website on July 14.)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- A New Jersey man who the authorities said had planned to go on a shooting spree in southern Vermont was arrested on Wednesday after his mother found an assault rifle and diagrams outlining an attack inside their apartment here.

The man, Christopher R. Greene, 41, was arrested without incident after leaving a Motel 6 in Brattleboro, Vt., on Wednesday afternoon, said Lt. Timothy Oliver of the Vermont State Police.

A subsequent search of Mr. Greene's rented car found a notebook with about 25 pages of "very detailed and disturbing" diagrams, writings and maps detailing a plot to shoot drivers on Interstate 91, Lieutenant Oliver said.

"The maps and plans were not something a person could gather by simply driving by," Lieutenant Oliver said. "There were also writings about how to disable a SWAT vehicle, details how to collapse a bridge abutment, causing traffic to back up, escape routes and places to take good, clear shots."

The investigation began on Tuesday when Mr. Greene's mother, Kathleen Greene, found a .223 caliber Ruger Mini 14 ranch rifle inside the South Mountain Avenue apartment she shares with her son, said Roger S. Terry Sr., deputy chief of the Montclair Police Department.

Ms. Greene called the police and surrendered the weapon, which is illegal under New Jersey's assault rifle ban, Chief Terry said. She told the authorities that her son is mentally ill, he said.

A search of the apartment uncovered handwritten diagrams of highway overpasses and railroad tracks, said Paula T. Dow, the Essex County prosecutor.

Mr. Greene, who is unemployed, attended Marlboro College, a liberal arts school in Vermont with about 340 students, and held a Vermont driver's license, Lieutenant Oliver said.

Mr. Greene had been living with his mother for at least a few months, but he often traveled to Vermont, New Jersey authorities said. Public records show he had lived in Seattle in 2000. Before leaving on Tuesday morning, he told his mother that he was attending a music festival at Marlboro, according to the Montclair police. Lieutenant Oliver said the concert was scheduled for next week

The authorities said they believed he had traveled to Vermont early to do reconnaissance work for his shooting plot, which he indicated in his writings might have been planned for specific dates in August or September.

Mr. Greene legally purchased the rifle, which can hold up to 30 rounds, from a gun shop in Vermont, Lieutenant Oliver said. It does not appear that he bought other weapons or that anyone else was involved in his plan. He does not have a criminal history in either New Jersey or Vermont, the authorities said.

Mr. Greene was arraigned in Windham County District Court on Thursday afternoon and waived his right to contest his extradition to New Jersey. He will be transported within the next 10 days to New Jersey, where he faces two felony weapons charges, and will be held on $150,000 bail, the authorities said.

Ms. Greene was not at her apartment on Thursday, and several attempts to locate her by telephone were unsuccessful. Many of her neighbors in her apartment complex declined to speak to reporters.

"She is very upset and under a lot of pressure," Chief Terry said. "It was obviously a difficult thing to do, but she absolutely did the right thing. It's a very powerful weapon he had; it could have done a lot of damage."

Friday, July 15, 2005

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