News 8 is learning more about the arrest of four people in Greece facing charges related to a plot to attack a Muslim community in upstate New York.
Officers say 18-year-old Andrew Crysel, 19-year-old Vincent Vetromile, 20-year-old Brian Colaneri and a 16-year-old boy, who was not identified, built bombs for an attack against the hamlet of Islamberg in Delaware County.
Police say the minor was a student at Greece Odyssey and comments he made during lunch, that were reported by another student, led police to uncovering the plot. Police say the interview with the minor led to one of the adult suspects that in turn led police to the bombs.
“When you do threat assessment,” explained Chief Pat Phelan, “they refer to a term called ‘leakage.’ It’s where people leak parts of plots and, I guess, the idea is maybe they want it get to get stopped.”
Police say all four suspects had attended Greece schools. Greece Police Chief Pat Phelan says Vincent Vetromile attended Greece Arcadia until 2015 when he was dismissed for a discipline issue. Colaneri was a Gates student who attended school in Greece through a BOCES program.
Police say three of the four suspects were in Boy Scouts together and two reached the level of Eagle Scout.
Police say the suspects were using chat app Discord and had been planning the attack for a month.
Officers found three improvised bombs, mason jars packed with black powder and projectiles like nails and BBs. They also say the boys had access to 23 firearms, all legal weapons, that were owned either by relatives or the suspects themselves.
Police say they may make further arrests as they continue to review electronic devices and other evidence. Federal charges could be coming against the suspects as well.
The mother of Brian Colaneri says her son suffers from a disability: Asperger syndrome. She says he was just going along with what his friends were doing. Speaking with News 8, she said police searched her home, but only found fireworks and three swords her son uses for karate classes.
April Colaneri says investigators told her that Brian was chatting with friends about the president and bombs. She says she’s still trying to make sense of it all.
“It was so scary and so surreal that something like this would happen,” she explains. “We have to be so careful with what we say or do. My son is really doesn’t smoke or drink or take drugs you know. He’s a good kid. I never knew something like this would happen.”
Chief Phelan and school leaders were unable to confirm if any of the suspect were on the autism spectrum or received special education services.