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Minnesota man planned to start 'second American Revolution,' prosecutors argue

Eric Reinbold

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- Federal prosecutors say an Oklee, Minn., man, who wanted to start a “second American Revolution,” wrote down instructions for bomb-making and identified multiple targets, including the IRS, police, teachers and “the rich.”

The federal trial of Eric James Reinbold, 41, began Monday in Fergus Falls, with jurors set to decide whether he is guilty of possessing unregistered destructive devices. He was arrested after an October search of his hunting property near Oklee, where investigators said they found what appeared to be pipe bombs in a plastic container "partially concealed in a pile by concrete debris.”

A notebook found on Reinbold’s desk during a November search of his home laid out details of bomb-making, targets, potential allies and how to survive in the wilderness before starting “an armed rebellion,” prosecutors said in court documents. Titled “How one person can make a difference: Instruction booklet at the HCU (homemade commando university),” the 32-page notebook has one main objective: “to start the second American Revolution and win.”

One page has Reinbold’s name on it.

The notebook refers to the notes as a Hollywood movie script titled “The Revolt,” states “why cops are garbage” and instructs readers to spend money on weapons and “go Rambo on the IRS.” Prosecutors argued the notebook lays out Reinbold’s “motives, knowledge, plan and intent” in making the pipe bombs.

“They (police) are too busy harassing the average Joe while the Wall Street gangsters rob the average family,” the notebook said.

The notebook, which dedicates 14 pages to instructions on making bombs, names targets: IRS buildings and personnel, police departments, career politicians, “Women’s Rights Headquarters,” “The Rich,” “churches that support our imperialists” and teacher conventions.

“School shootings are a thing of the past,” the notebook said as it mentioned gunning down teachers.

It also describes “allies” -- weather events, infrastructure, killer insects and animals -- and a list of “candidates for martyrdom” -- depressed people; people with cancer, AIDS, mental disabilities and chronic illness; the homeless; the elderly; and “men whom have been ‘taken to the cleaners.’ ”

The notebook listed 12 categories, but the young and healthy do not qualify for martyrdom, the notebook said.

“This is where I find myself in contradiction with the military industrial complex,” the notes say. “They send young and healthy men to die all the time. So go out and enjoy your youth. However, at some point in your life, you will fall into one of these 12 categories. When you do fall into one of these categories, get yourself (and maybe even a friend or two) ready to go Hulk :).”

Notes estimate how many military personnel, law enforcement officers and federal agents could “turn in their badges and fight for us,” with that number exceeding 3.1 million. Other pages describe training with video games, camping in the woods to “toughen yourself up” and disguising McDonald’s bags with a two-minute time bomb. The notebook also refers to going “commando” on Washington, D.C.

“Media will label you a serial killer, but real folk will call you a hero,” the notebook said. “Make them disappear one by one.”

The defense argued portions of the notebook should not be allowed in court, saying they were irrelevant and had the potential to “wildly enflame the jury,” according to motions to suppress evidence. The prosecution argued the notebook in its entirety is relevant, saying all of the notes lay out the defendant's intentions.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim allowed some of the book to be considered by the jury, but the order does not list which parts.

Investigators were alerted to the pipe bombs after an informant reported finding the explosive devices to authorities, according to court documents. Reinbold initially was charged Oct. 30 in Red Lake County District Court regarding the case, but that was dismissed Jan. 29, according to the Minnesota Court System's website.

A federal criminal complaint was filed Jan. 24.

In an unrelated case, Reinbold also pleaded guilty in 2016 to second-degree assault and endangerment of a child by a firearm after repeatedly ramming his pickup into a car that contained his wife and children in June 2015. The incident in Thief River Falls sparked a 12-hour standoff as officers tried to coax Reinbold, who said he had a weapon, out of the woods where he was hiding.

He was put on probation for that case.

He also was accused of traveling to Kansas in November after being arrested for the pipe bomb investigation.

Prosecutors still were making arguments as of Wednesday, and the case is expected to go to the jury by Friday, a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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