FBI arrest four in alleged plot to bomb Bronx synagogues, shoot down plane
By Alison Gendar and Helen Kennedy
NY Daily News
May 20, 2009
The FBI busted a homegrown terror cell late Wednesday night as the men sneaked around a Jewish temple in Riverdale planting what they thought were packages of C-4 explosives, sources told the Daily News.
The four men also allegedly had what they believed was a working Stinger missile in their car: officials said they wanted to shoot down a plane near Stewart Air National Guard Base.
Sources said the four men were arrested after a year long investigation that began when an informant connected to a mosque in Newburg said some militants wanted to buy eplosives.
FBI agents posing as militants sold them what they thought were C-4 and a plane-downing Stinger missile.
The weaponry was all phony.
The men were arrested as they planted fake bombs in front of the Riverdale Temple in the Bronx and under cars parked in front of the synagogue.
They also allegedly planned to blow up a second synagogue, the Riverdale Jewish Center.
Witnesses said an NYPD vehicle blocked a black SUV outside the temple and then officers broke in the windows and handcuffed the four men inside the car.
All four men were US-born.
Arrested was alleged ringleader James Cromitie of Newburgh, the son of an Afghan immigrant and his wife.
Cromitie served a long stretch in prison in the past.
Alleged henchment David Williams, Onta Williams and Leguerre Payen were busted with him.
Sources said the three were jailhouse converts to Islam.
"This shows the real risks we face from homegrown terror and jailhouse converts, and the need for constant vigilance," said Rep. Pete King (R-NY).
The four alleged terrorists are expected to be arraigned Thursday in White Plains federal court.