Former Fort Bragg soldier accused of stealing military IDs - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Former Fort Bragg soldier accused of stealing military IDs

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MINNEAPOLIS -

A Minnesota National Guardsman is facing federal charges for allegedly stealing the names, Social Security numbers and security clearance levels of about 400 members of his former Army unit in North Carolina in order to create fake IDs for his militia.

A federal complaint and affidavit obtained by The Associated Press alleges that Keith Michael Novak, 25, threatened to use violence if authorities came to arrest him. The Iraq War veteran also told an undercover FBI employee that he would barricade himself in his apartment and had "5,000 rounds, a thousand of it is in magazines, ready to go," according to the affidavit.

Novak, of Maplewood, was in federal custody Thursday and unavailable for comment. The federal defender's office has the case, but an attorney had not been selected to represent him by Thursday evening.

His father, whose home was searched Wednesday, has an unlisted number and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Suzanne Fackler, a neighbor of Novak's father, said Thursday that Novak and his dad moved into her neighborhood in Wayzata in 2006, when Novak was 17, but that the younger Novak hadn't lived there recently.

She said she got to know Keith Novak when he walked the dog. She last saw him in the summer of 2012, when he was running and carrying a heavy backpack that he told her weighed anywhere from 60 to 80 pounds.

"He was jogging with the dog, and he was doing it every day just to keep in shape," she said. "He's a good kid ... a friendly guy."

She said she was completely surprised by the allegations, adding: "It knocked me off my feet."

Novak served as an active-duty soldier and intelligence analyst with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina from Feb. 26, 2009, to Sept. 3, 2012, and served in Iraq in 2010. He is currently a human intelligence analyst with the Minnesota National Guard.

In late January, he went to a training camp in Utah and met two undercover FBI employees who posed as members of a Utah-based militia, according to the affidavit. Novak told the undercover employees that he took classified materials from Fort Bragg and would share the materials with them, the document said.

In July, the undercover employees came to Minnesota, where Novak gave them an electronic copy of classified documents and taught them how to encrypt files, the affidavit said. He also said that he had a personnel roster — including names, birthdates and Social Security numbers — of a "Battalion's-worth of people" from his former unit.

The undercover employees said they knew someone who could make fake IDs, which Novak said he needed for his militia.

Novak sent the identification information for 44 individuals from his former unit to an undercover FBI employee on Nov. 4, and on Nov. 25, he accepted $2,000 and said he had additional pages of information to sell, according to the affidavit.

The documents were released late Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said the guard was aware of the charges and cooperating with the FBI. Lt. Col. Virginia McCabe, spokeswoman for the 82nd Airborne, said the unit would work with the appropriate authorities.

Novak's militia activities are also detailed in the affidavit, including a military-style field training exercise that took place in September in rural Minnesota.

The affidavit alleged Novak stole six flak vests from the 82nd Airborne Division when unit members left them unattended. Novak had also previously given 10 flak jackets to members of his militia, the affidavit said. Novak also told the man who saw the vests in a storage unit that he had camouflage netting and riot gear and intended to start burying caches of equipment.

Novak told an undercover employee that he sleeps with guns and was ready to shoot through the wall, the affidavit said, and has weapons hidden throughout the state.

"I've my AK in my bed. If I hear that door kick, it's going boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I'm just going to start putting them through the (expletive) wall," he told an undercover FBI employee in July, according to the affidavit.

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