Man charged with car-bomb plot on Oklahoma City bank

Image source, Police handout
Image caption, Jerry Drake Varnell drove a cargo van - which he believed to be packed with explosives - to a bank in downtown Oklahoma City

A 23-year-old has been arrested and charged with attempting to blow up a bank in Oklahoma City, the FBI says.

Jerry Drake Varnell allegedly told undercover investigators that he hoped his actions would "cripple the government" and cause a "revolution".

The criminal complaint alleges that shortly after midnight on Saturday he attempted to set off a fake bomb.

Speaking to undercover agents, he cited the film Fight Club and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing as inspiration.

The FBI says that on 12 August Mr Varnell drove a cargo van - which he believed to be stolen and loaded with 1,000lbs (453kg) of explosives - to BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City.

Days earlier, he recorded a message to be posted online after the attack, telling an undercover informant that it was important to have a statement ready to post to social media in order to prevent other groups such as the so-called Islamic State from claiming credit for the attack.

On Saturday, he parked the van in an alley beside the bank, and then attempted to dial a number with a mobile phone, thinking that would trigger the explosion, the FBI said.

FBI officials say the device was inert, and there was never any danger to the public.

"I can assure the public, without hesitation, that we had Varnell's actions monitored every step of the way," said Kathryn Peterson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oklahoma.

Mr Varnell is charged with attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Anti-government extremist Timothy Mc­Veigh's 1995 bombing on a federal building in Oklahoma City left 168 people dead.

The attack is considered the deadliest homegrown domestic terror attack in US history.

Related Topics

More on this story