Would-be NJ terrorist stabbed family dog and plotted ISIS bombing — federal charges
POINT PLEASANT — A Jersey Shore man who threatened to kill his mother, stabbed his family's dog and claimed that he wanted to detonate a pressure cooker-bomb in New York City in support of ISIS has been charged with attempting to support a terrorist group.
Police were called to the borough home in February by a relative of Gregory Lepsky, 20, who had said he was going to kill the family dog, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said Friday.
In the weeks after his arrest, investigators obtained warrants to comb through Lepsky's cell phone and Facebook account to gather evidence revealing Lepsky's mission to die as a jihadist martyr.
In the February incident, he told medical personnel treating him for a cut on his arm that he was going to kill his mother and shared his views of the Islamic State, a jihadist group waging war in the Middle East and against the west, according to the complaint.
As he was being treated, he also told the technician that he was going to take a pressure cooker bomb and "place it in a busy area of New York City in order to kill as many people as possible." He also told the tech that he was looking forward to more bombs and explosions "very soon," according to the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court of New Jersey.
The dog had a large slash on its back and survived. Lepsky, according to the complaint, regretted trying to kill the "dirty" dog because it tipped off police.
According to the complaint, Lepsky told police he had pledged his allegiance to "Allah" and that he had plane tickets to Turkey. Prosecutors noted that he had the ISIS flag displayed on his iPhone.
Inside the home that day, police said they found an empty pressure cooker behind a roll of bubble wrap in Lepsky's bedroom.
Investigators later discovered that the pressure cooker was purchased using the credit card of the relative who alerted police about the threat to the dog. That relative, who is not named in the complaint, said that Lepsky's behavior started to change in December when he started to express opinions associated with radical Islam. In one instance, according to the complaint, Lepsky said those who are gay should die.
After searching his phone, investigators said they found that Lepsky had sent images of a pressure-cooker bomb to another relative in January. That relative is not named in the complaint.
In an online conversation that investigators say they found, an ISIS supporter told Lepsky that if he could not travel to Syria to fight for ISIS he could run a terrorist attack in his own country using improvised explosive devices.
Investigators said they found Facebook messages in which Lepsky said his father was from Chechnya and his "birth religion is basically Islam lmao"
The case is one of two involving terrorism charges and the Jersey Shore. Ahmad Khan Rahimi is facing federal charges related to bombings in Seaside Park and Manhattan in September.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com
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