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Man arrested in Kannapolis plotted to kill Biden, found with guns, explosive material, court documents state

By Shavonne Potts
shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

KANNAPOLIS — A 19-year-old man arrested in Kannapolis in May was found with van full of explosive material and guns and conspired to kill former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now running for president, as well as carry out a mass shooting, according to court documents.

Kannapolis Police arrested Alexander Hillel Treisman in May after employees reported an abandoned white van outside of Fifth Third Bank. The van contained multiple weapons and other items. He’s been held in custody since then, and an eight-page order, signed by a U.S. magistrate judge earlier this month, lays out a terrorist plot by the 19-year-old, also known as Alexander S. Theiss, which goes back at least to October 2019.

A federal grand jury indicted Treisman on Sept. 28, on one count of knowingly possessing any material containing an image of child pornography and two counts of knowingly transporting child porn by any means, including through the use of a computer, from South Carolina to North Carolina. A court decision dated Oct. 6 ordered Treisman remain detained because of “clear and convincing evidenced established that no combination of available release conditions would reasonably assure the safety of the community” as well as that no conditions would ensure his presence in court later.

The order details the events that led up to the discovery and the matter of the detention facility where Treisman would be held. Before this incident, Treisman had no criminal history, the order said. A judge heard testimony from FBI Special Agent Aaron Seres and Officer Addison Friedman of the U.S. Marshal Service and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, both of whom investigated the matter.

The special agent said on May 28 Fifth Third Bank employees working at 606 S. Main St. called the Kannapolis Police Department about the van. Kannapolis Police officers arrived and could see through the windows an AR-15-style rifle, a box for a Taurus .380 handgun, a canister of the explosive material Tannerite and a box of 5.56-caliber ammunition.

Before the vehicle was towed, police did an inventory of the contents and discovered $509,000 that was believed to be Treisman’s inheritance as well as books about survival, making bombs, improvised weapons and Islam. The van also contained drawings of swastikas and planes crashing into buildings and more guns. The other firearms that were were seized from the van were a Sig Sauer AR rifle, an Intratec 9mm Luger, a Lower AR receiver, a Kel-Tec Sub-2000, a .22-caliber rifle marked “ArchAngel,” and a Russian Mosin Nagant M91/30 bolt action rifle.

The special agent testified that Treisman arrived at the bank later that same day in a green Honda Accord and inquired about the towed van. Bank employees again contacted police. Officers with the Kannapolis Police Department arrived and took Treisman into custody.

When officers obtained and executed a search warrant for Treisman’s Honda, they allegedly found two more firearms — a Taurus Spectrum .380-caliber and an Intratec 9mm Luger Model AB-10 — both of which were concealed in a clothes hamper.

According to the court order, officers also found a wallet with two driver’s licenses and an identification card in the van. A Washington ID card had the name Alexander Hillel Treisman and a birth date of Dec. 19, 2000. A California driver’s license contained the same name and birth date. A Florida driver’s license was found with the name Alexander S. Theiss and a birth date of March 29, 1995.

Court documents state the Florida license was a fake.

A Samsung S9 cellphone also was seized from Treisman during his arrest.

Interview with Treisman

Kannapolis Police charged Treisman with carrying a concealed weapon and contacted the FBI. Kannapolis officers and officers with the Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed Treisman following his arrest. Federal court documents say Treisman told the officers he was interested in terrorist incidents and mass shootings. He told them he’s lost friends because of jokes he made about mass shootings and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Court documents state Treisman disclosed that he traveled across the country and purchased firearms in various states including Washington, where he bought the Kel-Tec Sub-2000; Kansas, where he bought the Intratec 9mm Luger Model AB-10; as well as New Hampshire, where he bought the Sig Sauer AR rifle; and West Virginia, where he purchased the Taurus Spectrum pistol.

He bought the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 from a federal firearms licensee in Seattle, and the information Treisman provided for his background check matches the counterfeit Florida driver’s license, court documents state.

The task force investigators confronted Treisman about using an online alias to post a comment on the social media site Reddit referencing pedophilia and executing those he hates. Initially, Treisman told investigators he did not recall using the alias but later admitted to making the statements for the “shock factor.” The task force investigators found another post by the same alias that expressed a desire to perform a mass shooting.

Court documents state a search of Treisman’s cellphone revealed sexually explicit videos and images of minors. Investigators found child pornography on eight of the 15 total electronic devices seized from Treisman’s vehicles, including three laptops, three hard drives, an additional cellphone and a flash drive. Investigators found a total of 1,248 videos and 6,721 images of child pornography content on Treisman’s devices in addition to 637 videos and images of child pornography containing sadism and/or masochism content, court document state.

Before traveling to North Carolina, Treisman used the internet at a South Carolina hotel to download child pornography onto one of his laptops, investigators said. In one audio recording made sometime around April 3, according to court documents, Treisman narrated “the perfect porn video,” referencing killing two parents and raping and impregnating their daughter.

Investigators also told the court they obtained a note from Treisman’s cellphone that he created on Oct. 15, 2019, and in which he described a plan to perform a mass shooting at a mall food court on Christmas or Black Friday. Treisman also had still images from video footage of the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shooting and downloaded the image on March 21.

On April 8, Treisman, using an online alias, posted that he was “going to do a Columbine for a while, but I think it would be better to put it towards something more memorable.”

In an April 15 post on a website called iFunny Treisman asked, “Should I kill Joe Biden?” And court documents state a timeline of internet searches made by Treisman between March and May included queries about Biden’s home address, state gun laws, rifle parts and night vision goggles. Court documents state Treisman traveled to a Wendy’s within 4 miles of Biden’s home and wrote a checklist note that ended with “execute.”

Evidence found

Other evidence referenced in court documents include:

• An April 20 video taken using Treisman’s cellphone in which a male driving by the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas stated, “There it is. That’s it. That’s the one, that’s where they did it. Allah Akbar. Ah hah, nice.” In 2017, a man opened fire from the casino on a crowd attending a 2017 music festival and committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.

• A video created on April 23 with the same cellphone at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago with audio of a male voice suggesting that it would be “awesome” to hijack a plane and fly it into a building.

• Images taken on Treisman’s cellphone on April 26 that show a shooting range at the Fort Bragg training area.

• An electronic document titled “A Guide to Mass Shooting” on one of Treisman’s hard drives.

• An image of a Polish passport that was edited with Treisman’s face on it instead of the actual passport holder.

• Drawings found in August in Treisman’s jail cell that showed a stick figure labeled “me” beating a stick figure labeled, “whoever the (expletive) calls the cops on a parked car” with a bat.

• A handwritten “autobiography” referencing mass shootings.

Court documents state Treisman’s attorney asked investigator Friedman if he was aware Treisman was diagnosed at 12 with Asperger syndrome. The investigator said he and another agent asked Treisman about mental health conditions the day after his arrest. The investigator told the court Treisman denied any mental health conditions.

Treisman’s case has been continued to the December term of the court to allow his attorney, who is listed as Samuel J. Randall IV, of the Charlotte firm Randall & Stump, to prepare a defense and review documents.

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