On Saturday, his family in Elk Grove Village expressed relief that Weiler had been caught, certain that he would have followed through with what an Oklahoma court affidavit described as a deadly terrorist plot.
“It’s a blessing in disguise that they were able to get there,” said Weiler’s cousin Johnny Meyers in an interview. “He has to be held accountable. It’s a blessing, he can’t hurt anyone now.”
According to court documents, Weiler was arrested after police found the bomb-making equipment in a garbage can at a motel. He has been charged with violating Oklahoma’s anti-terrorism laws, a legacy of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
Entering Weiler’s motel room, police found dozens of empty beer bottles fashioned as Molotov cocktails, along with a torn-up page that had hand-written instructions for making the bombs. The document had a hand-drawn map of 48 local churches, and plans to make more bombs, according to the affidavit.
The churches were “grouped and circled with a key detailing how many nights and how many people,” would potentially be affected, according to the affidavit. Officials said Weiler had plans to videotape the explosions. A hand-written journal discovered in his motel room laid out plans to destroy churches across the U.S. “a tiny bit at a time — setting foundation for the years to follow,” the affidavit said.
Miami Police Chief George Haralson said Weiler checked into the motel on Sept. 20 using an Illinois driver’s license with an address in Washington, Ill., just east of Peoria.
Haralson said police have not found any indication of a partner in the plot.
“To be able to fire bomb 48 churches in a week, that’s an awful lot of effort,” Haralson said. “But we’re confident that he was acting alone.”
As for why Weiler might have targeted the rural community of 15,000 people, “I couldn’t even begin to guess,” Haralson said.
His aunt Joanne Meyers said she believes the latest incident is another example how mental illness has devastated their family. She and her husband Chris took in Weiler after his mother committed suicide in 2002 after years of depression and alcoholism, she said.
Weiler’s father suffered from alcohol and drug addiction before he killed himself in 2005.
And, a sister is hospitalized for mental illness after several suicide attempts, said Meyers.
“We just want people to understand how mental illness such as Greg’s affects our whole family,” Meyers said.
Weiler showed signs of mental illness early, she said. After graduating from Elk Grove High School, he went to Bradley University — where he skipped classes and stole money from friends and family through a pyramid scheme, said Meyers.
About three years ago, Weiler joined a church in Missouri that his family called “a cult.”