Union grievance leads to threats of a 'surprise attack'

Even though Robert Johnson had only worked at the nuclear power plant in Monticello, Minn. for three months, investigators said he was already having problems with his union steward. It was after he lost his job that his dispute with union officials threatened to turn explosive.

According to a Ramsey County criminal complaint, early last week, St. Paul police received a call from the North Central Regional Council of Carpenters Union Hall saying Johnson had called making threats.

Investigators said he accused the union officials of misconduct, and threatened to shoot them if the head of the union didn't resign.

When investigators arrested Johnson at the VFW in Monticello two days after the calls, his car was full of materials that gave his threats validity. In his car, authorities found leg irons, 500 rifle shells, lighter fluid, propane, and a compound that explodes when hit by a bullet called Tannerite.

When police questioned Johnson, he told them he had Special Forces training and said he was upset about paying $3,500 a year to have union officials represent him. He also claimed he was going to cause "trouble" at an upcoming union meeting.

When authorities asked what kind of trouble he was referring to, he responded that his car was, "loaded for f**king bear." He then clapped his hands and said, "Boom. Tick tock tick tock," a reference authorizes took to mean he had plans to use a bomb at the upcoming meeting.

His attorney did not return calls when asked for comment on the charges.

He has been charged with three counts of making terroristic threats and was released on Tuesday on $50,000 bail.

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