Wisconsin Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Jewish Community Center
Chadwick Grubbs, who is currently in state custody on separate cases, pleaded guilty today to federal charges related to threatening letters he wrote on three separate dates in May to the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Whitefish Bay. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and Special Agent-in-Charge Justin Tolomeo of the FBI’s Milwaukee Division made the announcement.
Grubbs, 33, pleaded guilty to two counts of mailing threatening communications and one count of threatening to injure and destroy property by fire and an explosive. Information presented during the plea hearing established that Grubbs sent three letters to the JCC in which he threatened to use firearms to cause “maximum carnage” and threatened to use explosives to destroy the JCC. In his letters, Grubbs used numbers and symbols associated with white supremacist ideology.
“Mr. Grubbs’ violent threats against the Whitefish Bay Jewish community attempted to undermine the safety and security of all community members,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Justice Department will continue to prosecute these cases vigorously so that all people, no matter their religious beliefs, can live their lives freely and without fear.”
“The freedom of religion is among our most cherished rights,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger. “No one should be afraid to exercise his or her religious beliefs in this country. The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting anyone who threatens harm to someone because of their faith.”
“Protecting civil rights is one of the highest priorities of the FBI,” said SAC Justin Tolomeo. “We will vigorously investigate those who seek to intimidate with threats of violence motivated on bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity, and bring them to justice.”
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker released a statement on the FBI’s 2017 Hate Crimes Statistics report, published this morning. The Acting Attorney General’s full statement reflects on the troubling increase in anti-Semitic religious hate crimes in 2017, outlined in the report. Last month, the Justice Department launched a new comprehensive hate crimes website designed to provide a centralized portal for the Department’s hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other related organizations and individuals. More information on the website and an update on Justice Department hate crimes prosecutions can be found here.
Grubbs faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the explosives threat charge and a penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the mailed threats charges.
The FBI is leading the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Gregory Haanstad of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Trial Attorney Kathryn Gilbert of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting this case.