Racist Flat-Earther Caught With 30 Bombs Trying To Blow Up Building
Last Thursday, a man was arrested in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with a Mercedes-Benz filled with guns, at least 30 improvised bombs and supplies to make M-80 fireworks. According to threats he made on social media, 32-year-old Kurt Cofano planned to "blow up" the Treasury Department in Harrisburg and then "go to the CIA headquarters in [Washington] D.C. and take out as many [expletives] as I can before I get gunned down."
Cofano, a resident of Whitehall, Pennsylvania, had also posted videos of himself making and detonating bombs and claimed to have "several life sentences in the trunk of my car." He very likely was not wrong about that, as he now faces felony charges related to possession of weapons of mass destruction and explosive devices. Both the FBI and the ATF are investigating his case.
[Mt. Lebanon police Officer Thomas] Rutkowski said he and several other offices spotted Cofano's car on Washington Road and pulled him over. Cofano surrendered and said there were guns and supplies to make "M-80 type fireworks," according to the complaint.
The Allegheny County bomb squad responded and found a bag of suspected ammonium nitrate and urea nitrate, which police said are used in making explosive devices. In a backpack in the backseat of the Mercedes, police found two remote detonators, one of which was made up of homemade wiring and a key fob.
They also found a Tupperware container labeled "remote detonator."
Authorities said they found homemade grenade tubes and modified training grenades and a small amount of suspected marijuana.
This was not, however, the only threat he had made recently.
On May 31st, Cofano issued a threat on YouTube to those planning to attend a Black Lives Matter rally in Pittsburgh, saying that if they "defaced his hometown" or committed any number of made-up potential acts of violence, he was going to "hurt them so bad" they would "wish they were dead."
@boobarrymore @BukitBF @YouTube This is the screen recording I have of some of the explicit threats. I don’t know i… https://t.co/FjmneJPFMj— Skylar Daily (@Skylar Daily)1590956491.0
He also responded to people on Twitter with more threats:
@rickynubes I wish you were better at creating anarchy. It would be a lot easier to put you maggots down. You guys… https://t.co/SFLceEQdqq— PghBoogeyMan (@PghBoogeyMan)1591103477.0
He even openly identified himself on his account, PghBoogey. While there's nothing explicitly tying him to the Boogaloo movement available online, his handle could be a reference to it as he created the account in May when it was just starting.
@rickynubes My name is Kurt Cofano. Would you like to schedule a time and place to meet in Pittsburgh, or are you o… https://t.co/eR22Q07ppc— PghBoogeyMan (@PghBoogeyMan)1591103194.0
In fact, many of his recent tweets are raging against Black people and the Black Lives Matter movement.
@ladyhaja @absentmemory If black lives mattered to black people, then why do so many men abandon their children? Ho… https://t.co/l6KMGrd4m0— PghBoogeyMan (@PghBoogeyMan)1591123711.0
While it's not exactly clear what Cofano's intentions were in bombing the Pennsylvania Treasury building and the CIA, the story told by Cofano's small social media imprint indicates he's had certain tendencies for some time now but was triggered by the recent Black Lives Matter protests. In the last four weeks, he made 13 videos on his YouTube channel, most of which were racist diatribes about Black people, though there was also room for some COVID denialism, transphobia and Glenn Beck (who was also mad at Black people).
Cofano is also a flat-earther and a believer in the conspiracy theory that "space is fake." As in, he thinks NASA invented "space" and it doesn't really exist. He informed a commenter on his YouTube channel that "I've compiled a playlist definitively proving that NASA has blown a lifetime of smoke up your ass. I have researched this topic for years."
That research appears to have happened exclusively on YouTube.
He also created another playlist titled "3 Letter Agency Terrorism," which featured videos from conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson, videos claiming Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing were all hoaxes. It also included QAnon documentaries "Fall of the Cabal" and "Out of the Shadows."
This would make Cofano the third person in the last few months to attempt to kill people after watching the "Fall of the Cabal" documentary. The first was Jessica Prim, who livestreamed her drive to New York to assassinate Joe Biden, and the second was Alpalus Slyman, a Massachusetts man who led police on a high-speed chase and nearly killed all of his children because he believed Donald Trump was sending him messages through songs on the radio.
Cofano believed all of the bombings and mass shootings in the last few decades were false flags, but he was going to go bomb a building and kill a whole lot of people himself. Just like how he was furious about hypothetical people defacing his hometown, but, again, was going to go bomb a building in someone else's.
It's hard to know which of these things set him off to the point where he was going to bomb buildings and kill people until police arrested him, but it was probably some combination of all of them.
It's good he was stopped before Kurt Cofano hurt someone. It's good someone was paying enough attention to his social media presence to realize he needed to be stopped. It would be great if we didn't have to cut it so close. There are so many people out there literally profiting off the rage and paranoia of people like Cofano, off of their willingness to believe anything that fits with their worldview.
We're not going to be able to stop every monster they create.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse