Friday, April 23, 2021

Three Men Indicted For Setting Off Explosives Inside Target, Wawas During October 2020 Civil Unrest In Philadelphia Area

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of PA released the below link:

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Cushmir McBride, 21, of Yeadon, PA, Kamar Thompson, 34, of Philadelphia, PA, and Nasser McFall, 22, of Claymont, DE, were charged by Indictment for their alleged involvement in four separate incidents in Fall 2020: the robberies of a Target and a Wawa, and attempts to rob two different Wawas, all with multiple explosive devices. 

McFall is also charged with setting off an explosive device at a bank in Philadelphia later that year. McBride and McFall were previously arrested and charged by Complaint, and Thompson is in federal custody facing charges in a separate case involving the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Each defendant is expected to be arraigned on these new charges next week.

On October 26, 2020, a Philadelphia Police Officer-involved shooting occurred in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia that resulted in the death of Walter Wallace, Jr. Peaceful protests began that evening and continued into the following days, accompanied by a period of civil unrest with widespread incidents of looting and violence in various neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

The Indictment announced today alleges that on October 28, 2020, defendants McBride, Thompson and McFall conspired to break into a Target in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia and set off an explosive device in order to steal money from an ATM inside. The defendants are also alleged to have broken into a Wawa the following day, October 29, on Richmond Street in Philadelphia, where they once again set off explosive devices in order to steal money from the ATM. The Indictment further alleges that the defendants set off explosive devices in two other Wawas, one in Philadelphia and one in Claymont, DE, in two separate attempts to rob these stores in the same manner. Finally, McFall is alleged to have set off an explosive device inside an ATM at a Wells Fargo bank in Philadelphia on December 2, 2020.

Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to maliciously damage property used in interstate commerce by means of an explosive, and aiding and abetting, as well as four separate counts alleging maliciously damaging property used in interstate commerce by means of an explosive.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice will always support the constitutionally protected right to peaceful protest and freedom of speech,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “However, there is no right to rob, loot or destroy property while endangering lives, as the defendants are accused of doing here. If you engage in violence and commit a federal crime during periods of civil unrest hoping the turbulence will afford you some cover, rest assured that it will not. As this Indictment shows, we will find you, charge you, and you will faces the consequences of your actions in federal court.”

“The Philadelphia Arson and Explosives Task Force maintains a wealth of expertise in these types of investigations,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “These arrests and indictment would not have been possible without the continued professionalism of our partners in the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office. ATF is committed to vigorously working with all of our law enforcement partners and to utilize our expertise in explosives investigations to identify and arrest individuals that commit these types of crimes.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 80 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Eckert.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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