FBI: Man who planted explosives at park wanted to be 'patriot'

Channel 2's Aaron Diamant reports

ATLANTA — Federal agents confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that they arrested a suspect they say left a backpack containing partially-made bombs in a local park.

Michael Sibley, 67, now faces federal charges of attempting to damage federal property by use of an explosive device.

Channel 2 Action News was there on Nov. 4 as agents scoured Vickery Park after a hiker found the backpack.

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Agents said Sibley wanted to make a point that bombings could happen anywhere, that fell short.

"It's scary. You just got to be lucky," neighbor Bob Schlesinger said.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant found nearby residents of an upscale East Cobb community who said it is unnerving to hear the Federal Bureau of Investigation had arrested their neighbor.

“I know the guy. I mean, I let the guy in my house,” Schlesinger told Diamant.

According to the criminal complaint, Sibley confessed and:

"Stated he is a 'patriot' and he felt no one was paying attention to what was going on the world.  Sibley  felt  if he  placed  the  package in a Roswell park  then  people would finally get  that  this  type  of activity could  happen anywhere."

Agents say they also found a copy of the Quran in the backpack and other items pointing to what Sibley called "soft targets," like the location of Atlanta’s Jewish community center.

"It’s just awful that somebody picks on somebody for no reason for whatever goes through their heads to drive them crazy," Schlesinger said.

Monday afternoon the Jewish community center's executive director sent Channel 2 Action News an email saying:

"We work closely and cooperate fully with law enforcement on an ongoing basis.  We have full confidence they will proceed appropriately in this case."

No one came to the door when we stopped by Sibley's east Cobb County home Wednesday.

Acting U.S. attorney John Horn said Sibley's arrest, "should reassure the community that serious crimes like this will be investigated thoroughly and all leads followed to identify the perpetrator.