Clarence man allegedly promised to pay others to bomb Minnesota mosque
CLARENCE, Ill. (WCCU) —
Shockwaves in a town of less than 100 people, after four men from Clarence were arrested Tuesday.
The three men Michael Hari, Joe Morris and Michael McWhorter are accused of bombing the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota August 2017.
“I didn’t know what to think of it, I was hoping that whenever I got told that they were just saying a cruel joke, but it wasn’t the case,” Clarence resident Colton Nelson said.
According to authorities, Morris told an informant that Hari promised to pay him and McWhorter $18,000 for participating in that attack. All three of the men are now charged with arson in the state of Minnesota.
“He came to our front door one time and was looking for his horse, but he only looked for his horse at night which was really suspicious,” Clarence resident Ellexa Follett recalled about Hari.
"He's a wolf in sheep's clothing," Clarence resident Stephanie Budd said about Hari. "He put off this nice demeanor and this friendly attitude, but behind closed doors, he's a completely different person."
The FBI said the three men are also suspects in the attempted bombing of the abortion clinic in Champaign last November, known as the Women's Health Practice.
The fourth man, Ellis Mack was arrested in connection with a gun offense but was not identified as a suspect in the mosque attack.
In December, the FBI received an anonymous tip from someone who later started working with the FBI to provide information.
In February, the FBI received another tip talking about explosive devices on a property in Clarence. That same day, authorities searched the property and found multiple explosive devices, but the homeowners told police they did not know anything about the devices and said Hari was responsible for planting them.
Fox Champaign went out to the scene and interviewed residents like Josie McWhorter.
“It’s kind of scary because you don’t see something like this all the time especially here in Clarence nothing happens here,” Josie McWhorter said in the past interview.
Fox Champaign later learned that Josie is the wife of Michael McWhorter.
Michael McWhorter later told law enforcement that Hari and Morris planted the explosive devices on the Clarence property and that Hari sent the anonymous "tip" to the FBI.
“This was a quiet town like you could walk around at night and not be worried,” Clarence resident Stephanie Budd said.
Fox Champaign tried finding Josie McWhorter and her friend who previously spoke to the news team, but we couldn’t locate Josie, but we found her friend and she declined to speak with us.