Charges: Fired nuclear plant employee threatened co-workers, had explosives in car

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A fired nuclear plant worker has been charged with making terroristic threats against union members, with police finding explosives and rifle shells in his car.

According to a criminal complaint provided by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, 58-year-old Robert James Johnson called a union secretary-treasurer at Monticello Nuclear Plant and made allegations of misconduct among members, before telling him that he was an ex-Marine, "certifiably crazy" and that he had a rifle with a 20 power tactical scope.

He then made the sound of a "whistling bullet" and said that it would be "the last thing you're going to hear" if the union member didn't resign. The call was made five days after Johnson was fired from his job at the plant, where he'd worked for the previous three months.

He said he intended to attend a union meeting on May 20, but he was detained by police on the day and was allegedly found to be in possession of one .40 cartridge and two spent .410 shells.

While being interviewed by officers he suggested he had plans to attack the meeting hall, at one point telling an officer: "You have to save the union hall," before saying "tick tock tick tock."

After a warrant was obtained for his car, police allegedly found leg irons, igniter fluid, propane, 120 batteries, 500 rounds of .22 caliber long rifle shells, nine 20-gauge shotgun shells, and six pounds of Tannerite, which is used for making exploding targets in firearms practice.

A search of the hall turned up nothing.

Problems with union members

The incident followed a string of confrontations he had with union reps around the time he was fired from the Monticello plant on May 13, with the complaint noting he had a "history of being removed or fired from his job for a variety of reasons."

In the run-up to May 13, a union steward at Monticello contacted the union saying they couldn't work with Johnson any longer because of his behavior. Attempts by the chapter president to mediate the problem on May 12 failed when Johnson began yelling and attempting to intimidate a union business representative.

On the day he was fired, Johnson allegedly confronted this same man, attempting to engage him in a fight, and turned up at the union building on May 14 and 16, when he's accused of harassing secretaries and attempting to start more fights.

When interviewed by police, he said he was upset and complained about paying $3,500 a year to the union.

Johnson, who listed his address as being in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been charged with three counts of making terroristic threats.

The Pioneer Press reports he posted bond and was released from jail Tuesday.

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