A 25-year-old man accused of planning to attack a restaurant in upstate New York on New Year's Eve has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State militant group, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
Emanuel L. Lutchman, who claimed to have received direction from an alleged member of Islamic State, also known as IS, wanted to target a restaurant in Rochester, New York, where he lives, according to a criminal complaint. Lutchman was arrested on Wednesday.
The complaint said Lutchman told a paid informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation that they could plant a bomb inside the establishment and also kidnap and kill people.
"I will take a life. I don't have a problem with that," Lutchman said, according to the complaint, which said he planned to use knives during the attack.
The complaint described Lutchman as a "self-professed Muslim convert with a criminal history dating back to approximately 2006 ... as well as previous state mental hygiene arrests."
Lutchman appeared in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on Thursday. The charge he faces carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The City of Rochester said on Twitter it had canceled a fireworks display set for Thursday night.
Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said there was no credible threat but cancelling the fireworks would allow more police officers to be available elsewhere in the city as a precaution, according to ABC affiliate WHAM-TV.
The complaint said that in November and December Lutchman expressed support for Islamic State in telephone conversations with another paid informant for the FBI. It said he had been in contact this month with a person claiming to be a member of the Islamic State militant group in Syria.
On Tuesday, he went to a Walmart store in Rochester with one of the informants and bought two black ski masks, zip-tie fasteners, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves for the planned attack, the complaint said.
He had no money and the informant paid about $40 for the supplies, the complaint said.
(Reporting by Washington Newsroom; Editing by David Gregorio, Toni Reinhold and Leslie Adler)