A man arrested last year for planning to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado, pleaded guilty to two charges Thursday, local media reported.
The man, Richard Holzer, was arrested in November of 2019 by the FBI after unknowingly working with federal agents to plan the attack on Temple Emanuel in Pueblo.
Holzer pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to obstruct free exercise of religion and one count of attempting to maliciously damage and destroy a building used in interstate commerce, according to Denver-based KDVR TV.
“This is the most important work that we can do – protecting our communities by stopping an attack before it occurred,” said US Attorney Jason Dunn.
“The people of Pueblo and the State of Colorado are safer as a result of today’s guilty plea and the outstanding work of prosecutors, the FBI, and our other law enforcement partners,” he added.
The investigation into Holzer began after an undercover FBI agent purporting to be a woman who supports white supremacy contacted him on Facebook.
Holzer repeatedly espoused anti-Semitic and white supremacist views in his messages with the agent.
“I wish the Holocaust really did happen … they need to die,” he wrote her on Facebook, according to the court documents.
Holzer told the agent he had checked out the synagogue property and met with undercover agents at a Pueblo motel.
He brought a copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” with him, displayed a Nazi armband and appeared animated on the drive to the motel, the documents said.
The agents then arrested Holzer, who waived his right to remain silent and spoke to investigators, the documents said.
He also told agents he didn’t want to hurt anyone but would have proceeded with an attack if he knew someone was inside, the papers said.
The Temple Emanuel synagogue is the second-oldest in Colorado and was completed in 1900, according to its website.
Following Holzer’s arrest, the synagogue announced it would add surveillance cameras to enhance security that was already tightened in response to the deadly Pittsburgh synagogue the previous year.