Feds say Las Vegas man had unregistered firearm, discussed attacking a synagogue

A Las Vegas man who prosecutors say discussed attacking an area synagogue was charged Friday in connection to bomb-making materials allegedly found in his home.

The Justice Department announced that Conor Climo, 23, was charged with one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, referring to the components for a bomb.

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Prosecutors say Climo engaged in encrypted online conversations this year in which he allegedly used derogatory, racial, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs.

He allegedly discussed attacking an area synagogue and surveilling a bar he believed to cater to the LGBT community, and also allegedly discussed making Molotov Cocktails and improvised explosive devices, prosecutors said.

Climo was arrested Thursday morning following an FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation and made his first appearance before a judge Friday afternoon.

“Threats of violence motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities have no place in this Country,” U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement. “Law enforcement in Nevada remains determined to use the full weight of our investigative resources to prevent bias-motivated violence before it happens.” 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said the case shows how "the FBI will always be proactive to combat threats that cross a line from free speech to potential violence.” 

Prosecutors say Climo was in communication with individuals who belong to a white supremacist organization that the Justice Department says promotes attacks on the federal government, minorities and the LGBT community. 

Authorities say they seized a notebook during Climo’s arrest with several hand-drawn schematics for a potential Las Vegas-area attack and drawings of timed explosive devices. 

Climo faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Multiple synagogues have been targeted in anti-Semitic attacks in the last year, with the most notable attacks striking the Pittsburgh-area Tree of Life synagogue where 11 people were shot dead in October and the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California where one person was killed and three were injured in April.