Man with a van containing guns and explosives possibly planned Joe Biden assassination, court records say

Key Points
  • A 19-year-old man was found in North Carolina in May with a van containing five guns, explosives and $500,000 in cash, court records show.
  • Alexander Hillel Treisman possibly planned to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, according to the records.
  • Treisman traveled to within four miles of Biden's home in Delaware in May, around the time the suspect bought an AR-15 rifle, and wrote a checklist note ending with the word "execute," a federal magistrate judge said in a court order.
Mugshot of Alexander Treisman, arrested after making threats to kill Joe Biden.
Source: Kannapolis Police Department Photo

Alexander Hillel Treisman was arrested in North Carolina in May after police discovered his van along with five guns, explosives and more than $500,000 in cash. The 19-year-old was possibly planning to assassinate former vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden, court records show.

Treisman traveled to within four miles of the Democratic presidential nominee's home in Delaware earlier in May, within a month or so of the man buying an AR-15 rifle in New Hampshire, according to the records. Treisman had also written a checklist note ending with the word "execute," a federal magistrate judge said in a court order justifying the man's detention without bail on child pornography charges.

"Should I kill joe biden?" Treisman posted on the meme-sharing platform iFunny on April 15, the court order said.

Treisman was indicted in late September in federal court in the Middle District of North Carolina on charges of possessing and transmitting child pornography.

His actions regarding Biden and other evidence against him were cited as reasons for his pretrial detention by the judge in an order signed Oct. 6.

"A timeline of internet searches conducted by Defendant between March and May 2020 seeking information about Joe Biden's home address, state gun laws, rifle parts, and night vision goggles, along with actions taken by Defendant, including posting the above-mentioned meme about killing Joe Biden, purchasing an AR-15 in New Hampshire, traveling to a Wendy's within 4 miles of Joe Biden's home, and writing a checklist note ending with 'execute,' " the order said.

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While Treisman has no prior criminal history, the judge concluded that "no combination of available release conditions would reasonably assure the safety of the community, and that a preponderance of evidence establishes that no conditions would ensure Defendant's presence in court."

A lawyer for Treisman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The detention order cites testimony by an FBI agent explaining how Treisman came to be the subject of a criminal investigation that uncovered the information about Biden.

The agent said that on May 28, police in Kannapolis, North Carolina, who were responding to a report of an abandoned van in a bank parking lot, looked through the vehicle's window and saw an AR-15 style rifle, a box for a .380-caliber handgun, a canister "of the explosive material Tannerite," and a box of 5.56-caliber ammunition, according to the order.

After the van was towed, a search of the vehicle found about "$509,000 in U.S. currency (believed to be [Treisman's] inheritance), books (about survival, bomb-making, improvised weapons and Islam), drawings of swastikas and planes crashing into buildings," along with a Sig Sauer AR Rifle, a 9 mm Luger, a Kel-Tec Sub-2000, a .22-caliber rifle, and a Russian Mosin Nagant M91/30 bolt-action rifle.

Treisman arrived at the bank later that day in a Honda Accord and asked about the towed van, according to court documents. Police went to the bank after employees contacted them and took Treisman into custody, the documents said.

A search of the Honda revealed two more handguns, a .380-caliber, and a 9 mm Luger "found concealed in a clothes hamper," the order said.

Treisman was carrying driver's licenses from three states, including one that bore the name Alexander S. Theiss, the order said.

Treisman was arrested for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon. In a recorded phone call with his mother from jail on May 29, a day after his arrest, his mother, Kimberly Treisman suggested that he "should 'jump bail,' " the order said.

During interviews with police and investigators from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Treisman "disclosed he has an interest in terrorist incidents and mass shootings," and that he had been driving across the country buying firearms in different states, the order said.

A search of online aliases for Treisman showed him making references to pedophilia "and executing those he hates," the order said. One post by his alias expressed "a desire to perform a mass shooting," it said.

Searches of Treisman's cellphone and 15 other electronic devices seized from his vehicle turned up thousands of images of child pornography and more than 1,200 child porn videos, the order said.

A note on the phone, written on Oct. 15, 2019, described "a plan to perform a mass shooting at a mall food court on Christmas or Black Friday," the order said.

On April 8, 2020, an internet post by one of Treisman's aliases, "AlextheBodacious," said he "was going to do a columbine for a while, [but] I think it would be better to put it towards something more memorable."

A week later, he posted a meme on iFunny with the caption, "Should I kill joe biden?" according to the court documents.