Thursday, October 11, 2018




Rockland man charged with planning to detonate big bomb in Washington on Election Day


WHITE PLAINS – A Tappan man is charged with manufacturing an explosive device in his Rockland County home and then planning to detonate it in Washington, D.C. to kill himself and draw attention to his radical political beliefs.

Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York office, William Sweeney, Jr., said had Paul Rosenfeld, 56, been successful, he “could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction.”

In August and September, Rosenfeld sent letters and text messages to an individual in Pennsylvania stating that he planned to build an explosive device and detonate it on November 6, Election Day, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. He stated his reason for the action was to draw attention to his political belief in “sortition,” a political theory that advocates the random selection of government officials.

On October 9, a law enforcement agent stopped a car driven by Rosenfeld. He agreed to answer the officer’s questions and said he ordered large quantities of black power – an explosive substance – over the Internet, which he transported from a location in New Jersey to his home in Tappan.

He said he used some eight pounds of the black powder to construct a large explosive device in his basement and that he installed certain components in the device to ensure that he would be killed in the blast.

Rosenfeld told law enforcement that he had previously constructed a smaller device and had conducted test detonations. He also said he planned to detonate the larger device at the National Mall on November 6.

Armed with a search warrant, agents conducted a search of Rosenfeld’s home on October 9 and found a functional explosive device weighing some 200 pounds. FBI bomb technicians removed the device from the basement and transported it to a safe location.

Inside the home, agents also found a fusing system for triggering explosive devices and what appeared to be empty canisters of black powder.

Rosenfeld was charged with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, which carries up to 10 years in prison, and one count of interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Orangetown Police, Rockland County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, State Police, New York City Police and Stony Point Police.


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