WISCONSIN DELLS — A Wisconsin man is facing a terrorism charge in a plan to kidnap Michigan’s governor. Fifty-one-year-old Brian Higgins of Wisconsin Dells is the fourteenth person to face charges for the kidnapping plot that was foiled last week by the FBI.
Federal authorities arrested Higgins in Wisconsin Thursday on a felony charge of providing material support for terrorist acts.
A neighbor who lives down the street from Higgins said he belonged to his gun club. The neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, said Higgins often bragged about having plenty of guns, surveillance and night-vision gear for protection.
“If you’re wondering if I’m surprised, I mean, surprised at the particular incident, yeah, but surprised at the grand scheme of something like this coming from him? No,” the neighbor said.
Prosecutors say Higgins joined a group called the Wolverine Watchmen who had been conspiring for months to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Court records claim Higgins traveled to western Michigan with the militia group last month to surveil Whitmer’s vacation home in preparation for the abduction.
“Brian Higgins, while on nighttime surveillance of the Governor’s home, provided the use of his night-vision goggles for the surveillance,” read the affidavit. “Additionally, he used a mounted digital dash camera located in his vehicle to record the surveillance of the Governor’s home in order to aid in kidnapping plans.”
The group allegedly intended to bring Gov. Whitmer to Wisconsin after kidnapping her, but the FBI thwarted their plans by having undercover informants pretending to be members of the group. Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said his department actively searches for people believed to be involved in domestic terrorism far before they commit crimes.
“The individuals you’re talking about under this plot from my understanding are more of the anti-government, anti-authority, less about ideology for them,” Wolf said.
Higgins remains in custody awaiting extradition to Michigan for the felony charge. If convicted, he could spend up to 20 years in prison.