Delaware man accused in plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

BEAR, Delaware (WPVI) -- A man from Bear, Delaware is among the six people facing federal charges for an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Neighbors of Barry Croft described him as a "conservative constitutionalist."

Action News obtained photos of heavily armed officers outside Croft's Delaware home around midnight Thursday.

He and his accomplices allegedly plotted for months to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home. Along with the six people charged federally, seven more were charged by state officials in Michigan.

Karen Melvine lives right behind Croft. She says while SWAT teams pulled up to the front, agents came through the back. She watched her security video Thursday morning.

"They came over the fence and it happened at like midnight, we didn't hear anything. None of our dogs barked. They were totally stealth," she said.

Sanel Velic says he's had conversations with Croft but never suspected anything like this.

"He always said hello and stuff like that, never talked politics. He was a truck driver and that was it," he said.

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Andrew B. Birge, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, discusses the arrest of six men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home.

The governor thanked law enforcement.

"As a mom of two teenage daughters, and three stepsons, my husband and I are eternally grateful to everyone who put themselves in harm's way to keep our family safe," she said.

The criminal complaint alleges the men were part of a militia, undertaking rehearsals earlier this summer, and even had a plan to obtain explosives.

"Members of this conspiracy, on two different occasions, conducted coordinated surveillance on the governor's vacation home," said U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge.

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a news conference on Oct. 8 after agents foiled a plot to kidnap her, announcing charges in an alleged scheme that involved months of planning and even rehearsals to snatch Whitmer at her vacation home.

Whitmer has been praised but also deeply criticized for the state's response to the coronavirus.

She put major restrictions on personal movement.

Court records obtained by the Associated Press say the group talked about creating a society that follows the Bill of Rights and is self-sufficient.

All of the defendants are from Michigan except for Croft. The government says the scheme appears to have roots in a June gathering in Ohio attended by more than a dozen people, including Croft.

Neighbors say Croft lived at his Daniels Court home with his children and aunt.

No one answered the door at his home for comment.
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