Chicago Homeland Security Examiner

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January 22, 2019 Four people were arrested on Tuesday for plotting to bomb a Muslim community in Greece, New York.

Greece Police Chief, Patrick Phelan said during a news conference on Tuesday the bomb plot was uncovered after a student at Odyssey Academy in Greece, New York showed a classmate a photograph of another student and said, "He looks like the next school shooter, doesn't he?"

The remark was reported to school security last week and local police were contacted. After interviewing both the student who had the photograph and the student in the picture, police investigators learned of a plot to bomb a Muslim settlement known as Islamberg located in New York state’s rural Delaware County. A search of five locations recovered three homemade bombs and nearly two dozen guns.

Four suspects, identified as Vincent Vetromile, 19, Andrew Crysel, 18, and Brian Colaneri, 20, and an unnamed 16-year-old — the Odyssey Academy student who made the school shooter comment were arrested in connection to the alleged plot. Three improvised explosive devices wrapped in duct tape were found at the 16-year-old student's house. The four suspects face charges of first-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fourth-degree conspiracy.

“They were homemade bombs with various items — black powder, BBs, nails, inside a container,” Phelan said.

Mass shootings at schools in the past decade has created a culture of preparedness. Alert students and faculty at U.S. schools are more likely to report threats to authorities.

The "If You See Something, Say Something" public awareness campaign was originally implemented in 2002 by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority funded largely by the Department of Homeland Security's Transit Security Grant Program.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security adopted the slogan as a nationwide public awareness campaign. Then Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano expanded the “If You See Something, Say Something" campaign to include ground transportation systems in large cities a cross the country. Secretary Napolitano argued the program was an efficient and effective way to engage the American public and encourage people to identify and report suspicious activity to local police.

In 2010, DHS Secretary Napolitano raised eyebrows when she partnered with privately owned shopping malls and Walmart to display a short video featuring Napolitano on TV screens at checkout lanes. In the video, she reminds shoppers to remain vigilant and contact local law enforcement to report suspicious activity.

Since its inception, the “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign has been rolled out at sports arenas, large chain movie theaters and hotels across the nation.