A man has been arrested in New York for plotting to rob a store around the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in which he planned to wear traditional Muslim attire and display a fake bomb, federal officials said.
Juneal Ali, 29, was arrested by police on Tuesday and charged in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court with attempted robbery and conspiracy.
Ali is being held without bail, court records show. His lawyer could not immediately be reached on Wednesday for comment.
Prosecutors said Ali plotted to rob a store in the Bronx borough that offers money order and check-cashing services on the 15th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington.
The criminal complaint said Ali and an accomplice were to dress in Muslim attire, display a fake bomb, and force employees to give them cash.
While initially planned for Sunday, September 11, the robbery was postponed until Tuesday after the accomplice reported too many people were around, the complaint said.
But rather than go through with the robbery, the accomplice instead went to the police, the complaint said. Not knowing this, Ali drove to the accomplice’s home on Tuesday, where authorities were waiting, the complaint said.
A search of his car uncovered dark-coloured robes, an imitation pistol and road flares bundled with a voltage meter to look like an explosive device, the complaint said.
Ali admitted after his arrest to having made the fake bomb and procured the robes from his mother, but that he planned to tell his accomplice he wanted to back out of the robbery, the complaint said.