Rockford man arrested in hand grenade plot terror plot

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO – A Muslim convert who talked about his desire to wage jihad against civilians was charged Friday in a plot to set off hand grenades at a shopping mall during the Christmas rush, authorities said.

Investigators said Derrick Shareef, 22, of Rockford, was acting alone and never actually obtained any grenades.

“He fixed on a day of December 22nd on Friday … because it was the Friday before Christmas and thought that would be the highest concentration of shoppers that he could kill and injure,” said Robert Grant, the agent in charge of the Chicago FBI office.

Shareef was arrested Wednesday in a Rockford parking lot as he sought to trade an undercover investigator a pair of stereo speakers for four grenades and a 9 millimeter pistol. He allegedly planned to target the local CherryVale Mall.

Authorities described his plan to wage “violent jihad” as unsophisticated and said he had been under surveillance for weeks before agents finally closed in on Wednesday. Grant said Shareef’s plan “did not present any serious threat to anyone” because agents were watching him carefully.

Shareef appeared briefly on Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez, and was ordered held without bond. Valdez set a bond hearing requested by defense attorney Michael B. Mann for Dec. 20.

Mann had no comment on the charges. The door of a Genoa town home that is the last known address for Shareef went unanswered Friday, although a female inside was seen turning off a light as a reporter stood outside.