ASHEVILLE NC - A ten-block area of Asheville was evacuated last Thursday in what was described by authorities as “a unique form of terrorism.” SWAT teams were called in, surrounding a late model SUV with New Jersey plates as horrified citizens scattered.
North Carolina Chief of Homeland Security Menachem O’Halloransky described the scene this way, “There was a brief moment of pandemonium as people realized what was happening. There were only minor injuries in the rush to escape, most have been treated and released from local hospitals. Everything is back to normal and there’s no reason to panic. While we understand everyone’s concern, the public can rest assured that police have the situation under control.”
Local resident Congolia Breckenridge wasn’t convinced. “I knew it had to be something pretty serious because I’ve never seen that many cops downtown before. Had I known what was in that truck,” she said, “I would’ve been even more scared. Look at my hand, it’s trembling. I’ve never been through anything like this.”
A defiant Wes Bolan said, “Those bastards think they can intimidate us by doing something like this. They’re about to discover just how tough we Ashevillianiters are.”
Police are questioning a “person of interest” in the case. Bernard von NotHaus was seen in surveillance video nervously walking away from the rented Cadillac Escalade. Obviously hoping to get lost in the confusion and panic, he ducked into a local coffee shop where he was later led away in handcuffs before the shocked patrons. “He seemed a little shaky. I served him a double chocolate latte with extra whipped cream. For some strange reason, that seemed to calm him down,” said a distraught Amy Soporafach, an employee at the coffee shop. “We were all pretty lucky they caught him when they did. Who knows what else he may have done. Everybody was really shaken when they saw him being arrested.”
A later report from the police noted a second suspect, William Kevin Innes, had also been taken into custody. “These are serious allegations of terrorism. We expect to move quickly on this case.” O’Halloransky said to reporters.
This case has garnered nationwide attention, putting pressure on prosecutors to assure the public that justice was swiftly being pursued. For their own safety and that of the public, the two suspects were transferred to a maximum-security facility in Asheville, NC where they faced charges of domestic terrorism. Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano was out of the country and not available for comment.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Secret Service with help from the U.S. Mint.
“We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government,” US Attorney Anne Tompkins said.
She elaborated, “Those who are determined to terrorize innocent American citizens by distributing gold coins will find themselves on the receiving end of our justice system, one that will not stand for this kind of action against the country.”
Authorities have warned the public to be on the lookout for these gold coins, called “Liberty Dollar coins” by the alleged terrorists. The coins are marked with the dollar sign, the words “dollar,” “USA,” “Liberty,” “Trust in God” (instead of “In God We Trust”) and other features associated with legitimate U.S. coins. O’Halloransky said, “Should you find yourself in the proximity of one of these coins, close all the doors and windows, evacuate the area immediately, and dial 911.”
“Try to remain calm and remember that help is on the way,” he said, “Don't panic.”