Man Going by ‘Manic’ Arrested in Bungled Neo-Nazi Bank Robbery Plot

A third man has been arrested in an alleged neo-Nazi bank robbery conspiracy.

Brian Tierney, 29, of Rustburg, Virginia, was arrested last week for his involvement in an alleged plot by neo-Nazis to commit an armed robbery of a New York bank, according to the Northern District of New York U.S. Attorney.

According to court documents, Tierney and two other men allegedly planned the armed bank robbery in a chat group called the “SS Screenplay Guild.” The plotting within the group chat was discussed under a razor-thin facade of making a movie. Two other men, Micheal Brown, 40, of Pennsylvania, and Luke Kenna, 43, of New York were arrested earlier in connection to the alleged conspiracy.

The three all allegedly shared neo-Nazi ideologies, and the criminal complaint states “white supremacist, anti semitic, pro-Nazi ideology may have played a role in the intent to conspire to commit the bank robbery."

According to the court documents, planned robbery was to take place in Johnston, New York, on January 6. The group was acquiring tools and weapons for the job, had already planned escape routes, and surveilled the bank they were planning on hitting. At one point they even had conversations about acquiring “heavier” weapons in case they were in a shootout.

Tierney went by “Woodanaz” (a likely reference to paganism) and “Manic” in the group's communications. The court documents state Tierney offered to make fake IDs for the group with identities he stole from people in Iowa and that he had “the equipment to manufacture the fraudulent documents.” In his conversations within  “SS Screenplay Guild” Tierney allegedly wrote, when discussing the $300K the group thought they could steal, “not only could I use it, I kinda need it.”


Kenna, left, and Brown, right, during one of their meetups. Photo via Telegram.

At one point Kenna allegedly wrote Tierney about the group’s “pretty foolproof plan.” “Yeah bro, sounds easy, and the getaway looks clean,” Tierney wrote in response.

The court documents for the other two men suggest the alleged conspiracy came crashing down when Kenna, the first of the three to be arrested, was pulled over in late November. During the seemingly routine traffic stop, police found that he was wearing body armor and had a ghost gun on him—which was what he initially was arrested for—and that he also had with him a diary that allegedly outlined their plans in great detail.

“I’m going to fulfil my destiny one way or another. And It’s going to take bold action to do so. I have already set in motion a plan to start it all off,” it read, according to court documents. “I’m writing a ‘screenplay’ on a movie about 3 guys that rob a small bank and set off with a large amount of cash and get set up for things to come so as to keep their families safe and sound, protected.”

If you have any information regarding neo-Nazi organizing, the Wolves of Vinland, or Active Clubs we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to Mack Lamoureux at [email protected], @macklamoureux on Twitter or securely on Wire at @mlamoureux.

A little less than a month later, Brown was arrested. Authorities were able to identify Tiereny through a multitude of means, including phone records that indicate Kenna’s wife texted Tierney a PDF of her husband's criminal complaint.

“Damn,” was all Tiereny responded with.

According to anti-fascist researchers and court documents, the three men were members of a small but violently minded neo-Nazi group called Aryan Compartmentalized Elements (ACE). ACE, Kenna, and Brown were written about by Corvalis Anti-Fascists before their arrests and, at one point, Brown even shared the article written about himself among the group.

Kenna and Brown were active in an ACE chat group on Telegram, a social media app with lax content moderation, called Aryan Compartmentalized Elements (ACE) which saw the group post explicit neo-Nazi ravings and videos of them doing paramilitary-style training. ACE has since been deleted but VICE News was able to view it before it was taken down. The chat, which had just over 200 followers, also contained violent images and videos targeting police officers and minorities. The channel shared a segment from the livestreamed video of the recent white supremacist mass murder in Buffalo that shows a Black man being shot in the head. Posts on the channel also contained diatribes and voice recordings of extreme neo-Nazi rhetoric.


A video from Brown's YouTube channel advertising knife fighting. Photo via Telegram.

Both Brown and Kenna posted openly neo-Nazi content on their public social media channels. The two men also posted about their connection to Operation Werewolf and the Wolves of Vinland, a neo-fascist group that has experts worried. Wolves of Vinland is headquartered outside of Lynchburg, Virginia, a town nearby Tierney’s home of Rustburg.

“ACE represents the persistent presence and influence of Wolves of Vinland in the broader militant accelerationism landscape,” Matthew Kriner, the managing director of the Accelerationism Research Consortium, previously told VICE News. “The ACE Telegram channel depicts clear terroristic threats that explicitly portray law enforcement as enemies to be hunted.”

Brown and Kenna both ran tactical shops where they sold weapons, primarily knives, and attempted to sell themselves as paramilitary experts who could train willing recruits.

According to the Times Union, Tierney has pleaded not guilty. All three defendants face five years in prison.


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