Michigan man accused of making explosives to target Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

May 8, 2024, 1:43 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man carrying explosives traveled to Massachusetts in 2023 and later said he wanted to blow up a building in Salem known as the Satanic Temple, according to a federal indictment.

Luke Terpstra was charged in western Michigan with two felonies: transportation of an explosive and possession of an unregistered explosive.

“Building explosive devices and transporting them with the intent to injure civilians and damage property puts us all at risk,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said Wednesday.

The indictment was filed Tuesday. Terpstra, 30, of Grant, Michigan, is being held in the Newaygo County jail on related state charges. He faces a hearing in federal court next Monday.

The court file doesn’t list an attorney yet who could speak for Terpstra.

The Satanic Temple in Salem says it doesn’t believe in Satan but describes itself as a “non-theistic religious organization” that supports secularism. There is an art gallery at the site.

Terpstra had an explosive device, multiple firearms and ammunition when he traveled to Salem in September, the indictment says. The indictment doesn’t mention an alleged motive. No violent acts occurred.

“It is terrifying that he walked in our midst planning such violence,” Salem officials said in January when local authorities in Michigan filed the initial charges.

In April, a man from Oklahoma threw a pipe bomb at the main entrance of the Satanic Temple, causing a minor fire and other damage, according to federal authorities. A handwritten note found nearby referred to a fight against “crybaby Satan.”

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Michigan man accused of making explosives to target Satanic Temple in Massachusetts