Man Who Helped Discover Arsenal Granted Emergency Protections

MINNEAPOLIS – An emergency protection order was granted in Hennepin County for a man who confronted two litter bugs leading police to uncover an arsenal of weapons and bomb making devices in their car.

The Star Tribune reports that the restraining order was filed in early June against Majid Al Rifahe. He and his brother Abdullah Al Rifahe threatened a man passing by who confronted them for littering.

Court documents from the two men’s arrest on May 11, as obtained by the Pioneer Press, show that the two brothers were placed in the back of a squad car once police arrived on the scene. This is because the men continued to yell racial slurs and threats at the witness, even as police attempted to control the situation. Police kept the two men in the back of the car as they feared for the safety of the witness

This coupled, with the otherwise suspicious circumstances, led to a search of the vehicle, according to the court documents obtained by the Pioneer Press. In the car they found a hand grenade, a handgun, two rifles and their magazines, and a large quantity of ammunition, discharged shell casings, and BB ammunition. Also found were cellphones, computers, drone parts, and other electronic equipment. According to the report, Bomb Squad personnel called to the scene noted the ammunition, BBs, and electronic devices could be used for bomb making.

“At this point, there is no evidence to suggest the public is in any imminent danger,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janeè Harteau told the Star Tribune. “This remains an open and ongoing investigation and MPD officers continue to actively, aggressively investigate this case.”

Abdullah Al Rifahe has a prior conviction for carrying a handgun without a permit, as well as convictions for receiving stolen property, obstructing traffic, and driving a vehicle after having his license revoked. He remains in jail on bail of $200,000, and his release would be subject to surrendering his passport, having no contact with co defendants, and not possessing any weapons according to the report.

Joe Tamburino is working pro bono as the attorney for the witness regarding the restraining orders, reports the Star Tribune. He told the paper he cannot fathom the lack of public outrage over this case.

“If this happened in New York City, it would be national news,” Tamburino told the Star Tribune. “Instead, we have radio silence.”

Anders Koskinen