Christopher Byrne, a felon and self-proclaimed sovereign citizen — was indicted by a federal court on March 8, 2017 He is charged with illegally possessing weapons and ammunition, which police discovered when they pulled him over in a mall parking lot in Greenwood, Indiana.
Byrne was in a vehicle with a non-state issued license plate that read: “PRIVATE,” “No driver license or insurance required,” and “Not for commerce-private mode of travel,” terms commonly used by sovereign citizens. Byrne refused to provide a license or identification to the officers and claimed he was a sovereign national.
During a search of his automobile police found a loaded rifle, 100 rounds of ammo and an extended clip. They also discovered waters bottles filled with bleach and ammonia, ingredients that can be used to make a bleach bomb.
Police arrested Byrne for habitually violating traffic regulations. This is “any person who, within a 10-year period, accumulates two judgments resulting in injury or death”.
Law enforcement also suspected Byrne of planning to perpetrate an act of domestic terrorism. They initially assumed his target was Greenwood Mall, but now suspect that police themselves were his real target.
This is based on information Byrne allegedly had on his cell phone including the home addresses of the judge presiding over his case, a local police officer and a deputy prosecutor. After this information came out, the judge recused herself from the case.
Byrne has been in trouble with the law before. In 2014 he broke into two police cars, stealing weapons, equipment and other items, and lighting one car on fire. In 2015, police were able to tie Byrne to the crime when he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and they found some of the stolen items including handcuffs, a baton, a police issued gas mask and police badge inside his vehicle.
The same month, they obtained a warrant to search his apartment and found additional items there.
One of Byrne's associates told law enforcement that he was planning to use his ill-gotten gains to rob an armored truck.
Byrne was sentenced to five years for those crimes, three-and-a-half years for his habitual traffic violator offense and is now in federal custody awaiting trial on the rest.
Greenwood’s Police Department, the ATF and FBI were recently thanked by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana “for their hard work to protect the people of Johnson County from a dangerous felon like Byrne.”