Man busted with explosives outside Michigan mosque

By Daniel Tencer
Sunday, January 30, 2011 14:37 EDT
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A 63-year-old man arrested with illegal fireworks outside a Detroit-area mosque reportedly threatened to do harm to a mosque ahead of his arrest, news reports indicate.

Roger Stockham of California remained in custody Sunday after being arrested last Monday outside Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America, one of the country’s largest mosques.

Stockham was arraigned Wednesday on charges of false report or threat of terrorism and possession of bombs with unlawful intent. He faces 15 years for the explosives charge and 20 years for the threat charge.

Though the arrest took place Monday, mosque-goers weren’t notified of the incident until Friday prayers, WDIV in Detroit reported.

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told the Detroit News the investigation began when Stockham was allegedly overheard at a Detroit bar saying he planned to do damage to a mosque in Dearborn.

Dearborn police fanned out around the city’s mosques, finding Stockham in his car outside the Islamic Center of America, where police say he was in possession of “class C explosives” — evidently a cache of illegal fireworks.

The Detroit News reported that Stockham is a Vietnam veteran, having flown an assault helicopter in Vietnam in 1968. He reportedly has two children and a grandchild.

Stockham was being held in lieu of a $500,000 bond. He was scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 4.

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