Computer Crime Research Center


Quiet teen's terror plot stuns school

Date: September 27, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Dmitri Kramarenko

In the real world, he was a shy suburban teenager who lived with his family on a Clinton Township cul-de-sac amid lawn ornaments, tidy gardens and children's play sets.

Sources: Detroit Free Press and Watch Right Internet Crimes Against Children Weblog

But in the anonymous world of the Internet, police said, Andrew Osantowski, 17, became "Nazi Bot Sadistic," a chat room regular who wrote of his high school's police liaison officer: "Now I'm more than ever determined to blow her head off."

The two worlds collided Friday, when Osantowski was publicly accused of turning his family's two-story home into a virtual armory with a stockpile of weapons that included an AK47, chemicals and pipe bombs. His plan was a Columbine-scale massacre at Chippewa Valley High School, where he'd enrolled 10 days before his arrest, police said.

His father, Marvin Osantowski, 52, and neighbor Dominic Queentry, 33, also are charged with felonies linked to the teen's alleged plotting.

"At first glance, you would think that this is some kid who has got to be lying: He can't have an AK47; he can't have two shotguns; he can't have all these explosives," said Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor John Courie. "It's really scary to find out it is true. Thank God everyone took it seriously."

The charges against the three stem from angry e-mails the teen allegedly sent to a teenage girl in Washington state. Based on a tip from her father, a state university police officer, Clinton Township authorities raided Andrew Osantowski's home Thursday and seized a cache of weapons, explosive materials, homemade videos and Nazi memorabilia.

Police displayed the seized items Friday, along with marijuana plants taken from Queentry's home. They said Marvin Osantowski knew there were stolen weapons in his house and that Queentry coached Andrew Osantowski on making bombs -- even taking the teen to a wooded area in Clinton Township and blowing up a tree to show how explosives work.

Andrew Osantowski "was angry at everything," said Clinton Township Police Capt. Douglas Mills. "I don't know if it was one particular race. It didn't seem to matter to him."

Andrew's mother, Janice Osantowski, said she was stunned when police called her at work Thursday and told her they would be searching her home. She knew her son and husband had been arrested, but she didn't hear from either one until Friday morning when her husband called collect to ask her to arrange for an attorney and attend his arraignment.

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She sat Friday outside 41B District Court with a neighbor, her eyes red and watery as she described Andrew as a kind teenager who tends to his autistic brother. He struggled with depression two years ago and has bounced among three high schools, she said, but otherwise he's a normal teenager.

"I always thought he would be somebody someday," Osantowski, 51, said of her son. "I always thought he would be this wonderful person. "I think he's just been brainwashed by this Nazi stuff he had."

Andrew Osantowski's only public comments Friday came during his video arraignment. Osantowski, his pale skin and blond hair a stark contrast to his black T-shirt, was polite and composed when asked for his thoughts on bond by Magistrate John Russi.

"I'd like to participate in, like, antidrug programs or antiviolence programs. Anything I can do to help the community," Osantowski said, just after requesting a court-appointed attorney.

Russi told him that was a separate issue and set a total bond at $1.35 million for all of the charges.

Osantowski faces one count of threatening an act of terrorism, a 20-year felony, and three counts of receiving and concealing stolen firearms, a 10-year felony. Other charges include larceny, computer crimes and threatening a witness.

His father came on-screen a short time later to face charges of concealing stolen firearms and conspiring to conceal. He told the magistrate, "I'm a good citizen," before his bond was set at $600,000. Queentry is charged with possessing explosives, maintaining a drug house and marijuana possession. His bond is $100,000.

Preliminary exams for all three are scheduled for Sept. 30.

Queentry, a recent hire at a Rochester food service, moved to Clinton Township about a year and a half ago with his wife and kids but rarely socialized with anyone on the block, neighbors said. During the Fourth of July holiday, Queentry would often set off homemade fireworks in front of the house.

Marvin Osantowski is an autoworker on disability with a penchant for neighborhood causes. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and a founding member of a local Catholic church. In 2000, he was appointed to the township committee after protesting a road expansion in his neighborhood. Fellow members didn't notice anything unusual. In fact, he seemed like a nice man, said Jason Davidson, who is the vice president of the Clintondale Community Schools Board of Education.

Andrew Osantowski enrolled as a freshman in 2001 at De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren. He earned high marks and chugged through honors courses, never hinting that there was anything like a ticking time bomb within. His mother said he is a History Channel addict who especially likes World War II and video games.

"Certainly, during freshman year, we never had any indication of any major issues," said Terrence George, De La Salle's principal. But before the first semester of his sophomore year ended, Osantowski abruptly transferred to St. Clement High School in Center Line.

Following advice from the school's lawyer, George declined to say whether Osantowski was expelled from De La Salle or left at will. He did say, though, that "there was no incident involving weapons. No incident involving hurting anybody, anything like that."

Janice Osantowski said her son didn't want to attend Catholic school anymore and had asked to go to Chippewa Valley High School, where most of his friends were. He enrolled there as a transfer student just before his arrest. That was the school, police said, that he planned to blow to shreds.

Chippewa Valley High School has approximately 2,000 students, many of whom were in class Thursday morning as Clinton Township police escorted Andrew Osantowski from the building. School was back in session Friday after police searches the previous evening found nothing dangerous.

Teachers and administrators huddled Friday morning, reviewing safety protocols and guidelines. A public address announcement to the classrooms and a letter sent home to parents acknowledged the incident and said counselors were available to speak with concerned teens, said Diane Blain, a district spokeswoman.

Tom Ptak, 17, a Chippewa Valley senior, said barely half of the students were in school Friday. He showed up in the morning but was yanked by his mother 10 minutes later because she feared for his safety.

John Doman, 17, skipped school Friday and decided to attend the arraignments. He said he and Andrew Osantowski are friends going back to kindergarten and worked together at the Fern Hill Country Club in Clinton Township during the summer.

"He was just like a normal kid," Doman said. "I knew he liked World War II, but I never knew he was worshiping Hitler or anything."

Andrew Osantowski's e-mails showed he "had a plan," Courie said. "He just seemed to rattle on. At one point he said he couldn't handle the problems that he was dealing with."

Osantowski wrote about the Chippewa Valley High School police liaison officer, saying: "Now, I'm not even worried about getting into a gunfight with her because it doesn't matter. Now, I'm more than ever determined to blow her head off."

The teen apparently targeted the liaison officer because she handled a case in which he and his father were accused of stealing three golf carts from Fern Hill in May. Both were charged with receiving and concealing stolen property and were arraigned Thursday morning, only hours before their home was raided on the terrorism tip.

After Washington State University Police Officer George McGinty saw the e-mails that Osantowski sent to McGinty's daughter, he and another officer, Joseph Ederer, alerted Clinton Township police. He then faxed over 13 pages of e-mails that Osantowski allegedly sent.

Osantowski corresponded with the girl from mid-August until Sept. 9, according to police reports. His mother said he did most of his socializing on the Internet.

"I don't know if the officers realized this guy was as serious as he is," Courie said.

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About Robert T DeMarco

Robert T DeMarco is CEO of IP Group in Herndon VA. IP Group offers software communication tools for use on the Internet. These include: PowerTools, Watch Right, Always on Time and Instant...

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