Man Suspected in Bridge Bomb Plot Former Avon Lake Resident With A Record

Stafford was arrested four times in 2008.

in Brecksville formerly lived in Avon Lake, and accrued a criminal history while he was here.

Joshua S. Stafford, 23, is one of five men charged May 1 by the FBI. Stafford, along with Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, Anthony Hayne, 35 and Connor C. Stevens, 20 were each charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of attempted use of an explosive, said Mike Tobin, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice, Northern District of Ohio

In 2008, Stafford was charged by the on four separate occasions:

  • In May 2008 Stafford, then a resident of Burton Street, was charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. He pleaded no contest was found guilty and fined. He was listed as indigent at the time.
  • In June of 2008 he was charged with misdemeanor theft and receiving stolen property, pleaded guilty and was issued probation.
  • The following month he was charged with misdemeanor criminal damaging and attempted breaking and entering. Both of those arrests were answered in one court complaint. He was found guilty and sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 150 of those days suspended on each, to run concurrently. All charges were answered to in in 

Stafford's current address is not known.

The men had been monitored by local law enforcement before the arrests. A criminal complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland this morning. Charges against Wright, Baxter and Hayne were made Monday. Charges weren’t made against Stevens and Stafford until Tuesday. 

None entered pleas this afternoon.

The defendants considered a variety of plots in the Cleveland area before settling on the state Route 82 bridge from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the release said. The three who are charged with conspiracy are self-proclaimed anarchists.

The FBI said in a press release the public was not in danger, and an undercover FBI employee had controlled the explosive devices. In addition, the explosives were inoperable.

Other coverage on Patch: 


Brad Hutcherson May 01, 2012 at 08:14 PM
They all should be sentenced to death. They were looking to kill innocent people; they should die. Until this country takes that attitude we will forever be living in constant fear
Lori E. Switaj May 01, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Pretty scary stuff. Good job FBI.
Adam C. Miller May 01, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Occupy a prison cell...
Scott Rollins May 01, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Having lived and traveled in that area I can honestly say they could have been aiming to blow it up when no one was on it. Since I dont think of ways to destroy a bridge while not hurting others i cannot verify this at all, but just saying. Guess we need to wait for more details
Mike May 01, 2012 at 09:21 PM
On CNN they mentioned that they were probably aligned with the Occupy movement.
Steve May 01, 2012 at 09:55 PM
@Brad, unlike certain breeds of dogs, they are innocent till proven guilty. I live day to day, but not in fear. Try it, you might like it.
Zach Schiller May 01, 2012 at 09:59 PM
@ Mike: that doesn't mean that the Occupy movement is aligned with them.
tom m May 01, 2012 at 10:01 PM
scott that is an ignorant comment so what you are saying is that its not as bad that they were going to blow up a bridge with no cars on it VS killing people while blowing up a occupied bridge ....and how would they have stopped traffic from driving into the void at 45 miles an hour
tom m May 01, 2012 at 10:08 PM
here zach...... Five members of Occupy Cleveland were arrested Monday after they protested property foreclosures by interrupting a sheriff's sale. ........ Occupy member Peter Schanz said we want people to know that there is a movement, and that it is OK to fight back.......... Brandon Baxter of Lakewood said he had no regrets for making sure people heard the message mike these were pulled right off the left leaning cleveland.com
lyn May 01, 2012 at 10:28 PM
"The defendants, after they planted the devices, intended to detonate them from a remote location that they believed was safe and could provide them with an alibi, authorities said at Tuesday's news conference." So, they didn't care who would get killed. Why would you step up and defend them? Do you think its okay if no one is hurt, but a stupid, politcal point is made?
joe simonton May 01, 2012 at 10:39 PM
yes zach the occupy wall street site has them listed as "Right wing terrorists in Ohio tried to bomb bridge "
Scott Rollins May 01, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Dial back the bad feelings, i wasnt defending just pointing out a possible way things could have gone, and no i did not consider that once the bridge is gone how do you stop traffic from falling off in the middle of the night, so sorry i guess im not a criminal mastermind? Also yes i feel that if no one is hurt, make any political point you want, but do i really have to explain that destruction of a infrastructure ≠ political statement?
Brad Hutcherson May 01, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Love it!!
Jack Kelly May 02, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Actually, it's been reported that some of these guys were actually unhappy -- esp. the oldest one -- with the Occupy Cleveland movement. The group was close to asking him/them to leave.
John McMillan May 02, 2012 at 12:13 AM
These five "men" seriously need to be locked up for quite a while. They are so young, and I'm guessing they have contributed nothing to society as yet, yet blame others for the fact that they are dirty, indigent, and homeless. Anyone that would defend their actions or try to mitigate the seriousness of the harm that could have been done, just doesn't get it either. And please don't be so quick to blame the Occupy movement for the crimes of these "men". These are extremists who only know how to turn to violence. This is contrary to the beliefs of the Occupy movement, which promotes peaceful protest only.
tom m May 02, 2012 at 12:24 AM
jack after the fact statements hold no water since brandon baxter was speaking for the movement in march at a forclosure protest
lyn May 02, 2012 at 12:40 AM
After reading all these comments by Occupy supporters, I've come to the conclusion that they are full of contradictions. They all seemed to band together until part of their group makes them look bad and then they distant themselves from them as far as they can.
jim May 02, 2012 at 12:56 AM
The Occupy movement is in no way a militant movement, I'm sure the authorities know that too, as far as cnn goes they, like most of the main stream media is sensationalist and not really doing a good job of investigating the facts. Anyone can join an occupy protest, but if they start talking about blowing things up, that usually puts an end to their being welcome! But if they are real jerks how do you get them to leave?
joe simonton May 02, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Jim you said it yourself """but if they start talking about blowing things up, that usually puts an end to their being welcome""" USUALLY
jim May 02, 2012 at 01:54 AM
The occupy movement has clearly stated, since its inception october 6th 2011, that its founding principles are to be non-violent, we can not read peoples minds, but I can assure any one talking about bombs will be reported to the authorities. Most groups with violent intentions are secretive, we would have nothing to gain by violence.
tom m May 02, 2012 at 02:19 AM
but yet one of your founding members of occupy cleveland sits in jail tonight
Adam C. Miller May 02, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Andrea S May 02, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Why that bridge? It is a pretty big bridge for the Cleveland area...but there are ones that have more traffic if they were looking for the highest possible loss of life. I'm just curious what their thinking was. And thank goodness the FBI caught them before they could do any real damage! This has not been a good year so far for Cleveland between all the shootings and now this bomb pot.
Elaine Newlin May 02, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Peaceful nonviolent protest... Come on Occupy Movement. Since when is throwing rocks through windows of buildings and confrontations with police -- who, btw, are part of the 99% that you claim to be protesting on behalf of -- peaceful?
Jack Kelly May 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Andrea, They were looking at the Detroit-Superior Bridge, and utilizing the subway system underneath the roadway to plant explosives.
Adam C. Miller May 02, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Yea, they were chanting PRO-Union chants at the Police... last time I checked Police are part of unions haha
Jack Kelly May 02, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Tom, You're just looking for a reason to bash the group in general, regardless of any facts or rationale that is presented. I don't consider them "after the fact" statements. To me, the Occupy movement & the Tea Party are in the same category -- the fringe of their respective parties with plenty of "kook" in them & are not taken seriously (OWS even less). It's not uncommon for someone to "associate" or "align" themselves with a group, while masking their true intent/plans. My decision about this group has been out for a long time (as w/the Teabaggers), and what these nutjobs were planning to do doesn't change that because I view THESE LOONS -- not the group.


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