Alleged Klansmen arrested for trying to sell homemade ray gun to synagogue

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This is a very strange story, with some strange, strange characters. The principal weirdo is Glendon Crawford, industrial mechanic by day, super weapons designer for the KKK on weekends. Crawford claims to have designed and partially built a radiation gun to kill people in their sleep, which he tried to sell to Jews in the hope they’d use it on Muslims:

Times Union — Crawford never actually obtained a radiation source and the device was not fully constructed, officials said. During the past year, the complaint indicates he was dealing with an undercover FBI agent pretending to be a supplier of radiation equipment, such as x-ray tubes used in construction projects or medical devices. At one point, the undercover agent sent an email to Crawford showing different x-ray systems that could be supplied.


The investigation broke open in April 2012 when Crawford allegedly went into an Albany-area synagogue and “asked to speak with a person who might be willing to help him with a type of technology that could be used by Israel to defeat its enemies, specifically, by killing Israel’s enemies while they slept,” the complaint says. He referred to Muslims and enemies of the United States as “medical waste,” according to court records.

Not sure what else to add. Hell, I don’t even know how to tag this post.


  1. sc_627c0f1f8eadf5000186b2743c4c80e5 says

    What crime was he actually charged with? Trying to sell an imaginary weapon?

  2. Randomfactor says

    “Conspiracy” doesn’t require completion of any other crime, just efforts towards it.

  3. says

    “Conspiracy” doesn’t require completion of any other crime, just efforts towards it.

    Is it conspiracy if your hypothetical crime is not actually accomplishable?

    If I plan to pull the moon down onto New Jersey using my psychic powers, is that really a conspiracy?

    Of course, practicality as a litmus test comes with problems: Jose Padilla would have then done, um, nothing. Which he did, in fact do. Hmmm… shit. If you don’t hear from me any more I’m probably in gitmo because of my plan to pull the moon down. Look for an announcement from the FBI about how their surveillance of this site prevented an unprecedentedly destructive attack.

  4. says

    PS – If I actually knew any klansmen I’d have sooooooo much fun ribbing them over the quality of their recruits, nowadays. I’d be like, “you know what you guys need to wear to go with your robes and hoods? clown shoes!”

  5. anubisprime says

    Or…If these fuckers had a brain they would be dangerous!
    Just how frickin’ deluded do these shit stains get?

  6. grumpyoldfart says

    I’m only guessing:

    The Klansman probably got drunk one night and said, “If I had a death ray I’d soon get rid of the Muslims,” and that’s when the FBI man started to snuggle up.

    The FBI man probably initiated every step of the conspiracy and only got as far as he did because the Klansman was too dull to see what was happening. Probably the only reason the Klukker incriminated himself in the synagogue was that the FBI man suggested he do so (and probably wrote the script for the Klansman to deliver).

    I’m not making excuses for the Klansman, just thinking that the whole thing would remained nothing more than a drunks dream until the FBI decided to have a bit of fun with it.

  7. lochaber says

    I heard about this earlier, and just thought it was strange. I think this blog post is the first mention of an FBI agent I’ve come across.

    Also reminds me of all the recent ‘terrorist’ stings, where they have a bunch of FBI agents and one gullible wannabe, encourage the wannabe to lash out against their enemies, tell the wannabe they have access to explosives, plan the event, train the wannabe, and then try to pretend they found the next Bin Laden.

    Though, at least this guy seems to have ties to the KKK (assuming it wasn’t FBI agents posing as KKK…)

    note: I’m not trying to defend the guy, I’m just rather critical (especially considering recent ‘terrorist plot’ foilings by the FBI) of pretty much any law enforcement agency.

  8. francesc says

    “specifically, by killing Israel’s enemies while they slept”
    How hard it is to kill someone while he is sleeping? Do you need a death ray for that?
    I’m guessing his plan was to put some amount of radioactive waste into pillows, sell them to muslims at a good price and hope that they would develop cancer

  9. brucegee1962 says

    Yeah, but at least the NBC version of this story had the coolest name for the device: “Hiroshima Light Switch.”

    I mean, what an awesome name for a death ray! Who cares if it’s real? The title alone will sell the story!

  10. csrster says

    And did I really read that it would be powered from a car’s 12V cigarette-lighter socket?

  11. davidjanes says

    @13, The remote control would be powered from a 12V source. No mention is made of the power source for the X-Ray generator or its size or portability. This may be the equivalent of someone trying to make large quantities of a chemical weapon using a chemistry set, but I believe even that act has resulted in convictions and long sentences.

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    Read the linked Albany Times-Union story, y’all.

    Crawford (reportedly) came up with the idea on his own, and the FBI didn’t get involved until he tried to sell the project to Israel via a local synagogue (whose people not only turned him in, but beefed up their own security).

    The gizmo was to “be powered by a makeshift, 2,000-watt battery.” The feds sent him somebody pretending to sell x-ray tubes, plus some fake Kluxers offering funding; the phrase “Hiroshima on a light switch” came from Crawford himself.

    They even went to the now-superfluous trouble of getting a warrant from a judge before wiretapping these guys!

    It looks like the Muslims have been praying Voltaire’s prayer, and have had it granted.

  13. Reginald Selkirk says

    Isn’t the Klan historically anti-semitic? So what would they have against ‘enemies of Israel’?

  14. Reginald Selkirk says

    The gizmo was to “be powered by a makeshift, 2,000-watt battery.”

    So mr. technical genius didn’t realize battery storage is measured in watt-hours, not watts?

  15. Pierce R. Butler says

    Reginald Selkirk @ # 18: … mr. technical genius didn’t realize battery storage is measured in watt-hours…?

    How long since you met a crime/politics reporter who realizes that?

    Crawford, a long-time General Electric employee, and his electronics-tinkering buddy may well have had the technical chops to pull this off (even if the rest of their mental processes peg the Fail Scale).

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