January 31, 1997 in Nation/World

Supremacist Leader Indicted Aryan, 4 Others Held In Bank Holdup Spree

Associated Press
 

One of the nation’s leading white supremacists and four others were indicted Thursday on charges of conspiring to rob seven banks in the Midwest to bankroll their movement.

Mark Thomas, leader of the Aryan Nations in Pennsylvania and a minister in the white supremacist Christian Identity Movement, recruited gang members at his home in Macungie, a small town near Allentown, the indictment said.

Three others named Thursday were charged last year with robbing 22 banks of $250,000 over two years as members of the self-proclaimed “Mid-Western Bank Bandits,” also known as the Aryan Republican Army.

The gang’s alleged ringleader, Peter Langan, 38, is standing trial in Columbus, Ohio.

The name of the fifth suspect, Michael W. Brescia, 24, has surfaced during the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing. He once lived with a German citizen whom Timothy McVeigh tried to call 12 days before the terrorist attack.

U.S. Attorney Michael R. Stiles said Thursday’s bank robbery conspiracy indictment was not connected to the Oklahoma investigation.

Stiles said the five suspects split the proceeds from the seven robberies among themselves and contributed a share to Thomas for their self-styled organization. Authorities said Thomas did not participate in the robberies.

The five face up to five years in prison if convicted. Thomas also faces an additional 20 years if convicted of two charges of receiving money stolen from banks.

Thomas, 44, surrendered to the FBI in Allentown, while Brescia was arrested outside his house in Philadelphia as he was leaving for work.

The indictment charges that Thomas, Brescia, Langan, Kevin W. McCarthy and Scott William Stedeford, 27, conspired to rob seven banks in Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa from October 1994 to December 1995.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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