visit Waagner's home
The Derrick, 11/6/01 By LISA THOMPSON
special thank you goes out to The Derrick for allowing this article to be posted
AUTHORITIES SAY THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE
THEY HAVE "ALL THE AVAILABLE INFORMATION." THEY HAVE NO INFORMATION
WAAGNER WAS IN THIS AREA.
The nationwide manhunt for self-proclaimed abortion clinic
stalker Clayton Lee Waagner set its sites on the fugitive's home territory
Wednesday as about a dozen state and federal authorities, including postal
inspectors, converged on Waagner's rural Venango County homestead.
FBI special agent Bob
Rudge and Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Cathy Jones confirmed that the U.S.
Marshals Service, FBI agents, U.S. Postal inspectors, and the state police were
at the Waagner family property on Route 308 seeking information regarding his
whereabouts. Rudge said officials arrived about 8:30 a.m. and stayed for about
He and Jones declined
comment on whether a search warrant was executed or if any items were removed
from the home. No such search warrant was obtained in local district courts, nor
have any sealed search warrants been obtained in the Venango County Court of
Common Pleas in recent days. It is not known if a federal search warrant was
obtained. A call to the U.S. Attorney's office in Erie was not immediately
Rudge said no specific
information brought the probe to Waagner's family home on Route 308.
"It was just kind
of a coordinated effort by all involved to make sure that we have all the
available information," he said. Authorities have no information indicating
that Waagner is in this area, he said.
"We have nothing to
indicate where he is right now. We are hoping someone who knows where he is will
call," Rudge said. Jones said a reward of more than $75,000 is being
offered for information leading to Waagner's arrest.
information regarding his whereabouts should call the U.S. Marshals Service, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation or their local law enforcement," she said.
Ranked among the FBI's
10 Most Wanted with terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and abortion clinic bomber
Eric Roberts, Waagner faces a host of charges ranging from escape to robbery to
weapons violations in several states. The U.S. Marshals Service has been leading
the search for Waagner, but he is also wanted by the FBI in connection with a
Harrisburg bank robbery and on warrants for burglary and other charges filed by
state police in Venango County.
Why U.S. Postal
inspectors took part in Wednesday's search was not immediately clear.
Last week, it was
reported that 200 abortion clinics, including three in western Pennsylvania, had
received Federal Express packages containing threatening letters and a white
powder the sender claimed was anthrax. It was the second time in two months that
clinics had received such anthrax threats.
The threats were signed
by "The Army of God, Virginia Dare Cell," which, according to
published reports, is a frequent cover name for anti-abortion extremists.
The "Army of
God" name has been linked with Waagner in the past. A letter threatening
those who work at abortion clinics purportedly written by Waagner was posted on
the Rev. Donald Spitz's "Army of God" Web site following Waagner's
escape from prison.
Rudge declined to
comment on whether the postal inspectors' involvement in the Waagner
investigation Wednesday was related to the anthrax threats mailed last week. A
call to the postal inspections office in Pittsburgh late Wednesday was not
The rustic wooden home near
Clintonville that authorities visited Wednesday is now occupied by Waagner's
wife and children. Rudge said members of the family were home while officials
were there. He declined to comment further. He said nothing that indicated that
they were the target of Wednesday's activity.
Listed as among the most
wanted by both the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service and repeatedly profiled on
the television show America's Most Wanted, Waagner has eluded capture since his
escape from federal prison in February.
He last surfaced in
September after he allegedly abandoned a wrecked car containing a pipe bomb and
anti-abortion literature on the side of a Memphis, Tenn., freeway.
Hours later, a man
believed to be Waagner committed a carjacking in Tunica, Miss., some 40 miles
southwest of Memphis, authorities said. The victim of the carjacking was set
Days later a Tennessee
grand jury indicted Waagner on weapons charges stemming from the roadside
The incident was only
the latest in a series of alleged criminal acts committed by Waagner since his
The 44-year-old man is
also being sought for a Harrisburg bank robbery committed in May. And on
Wednesday Rudge indicated that Waagner would likely be indicted in connection
with an August hold-up at a bank in the Erie Millcreek Mall. He said authorities
found an Erie newspaper from the date of the robbery inside the abandoned car in
alleged crime spree began here in 1999 with the theft of a GMC Yukon from A.
Crivelli Chevrolet in Reno.
accomplice, Jason Matthew Miller, then of
Kennerdell, was caught by police after Waagner held up a convenience store
in Kentucky, but Waagner escaped and stayed on the run for four months during
which he said he committed robberies and stole weapons and vehicles while
stalking abortion clinics.
He was captured in
September 1999 on the side of an Illinois highway when a stolen Winnebago
carrying him, his wife and their eight children broke down.
At trial in December
2000 in Urbana, Ill., on weapons and theft charges, Waagner testified that he
had been watching abortion clinics for months and was stocking up on weapons to
kill doctors who provided abortions because God had asked him to be his warrior.
Two months later he used
a comb to open a door and escape through the ventilation system in a new DeWitt
County, Ill., jail. Authorities believe he timed his escape so that he could
leap onto a passing train and avoid detection.
In June, abortion
clinics were warned after someone purporting to be Waagner posted an Internet
message threatening to kill employees of abortion providers. He has not,
however, taken any direct action against them.
Rudge said all the
agencies involved in the search for Waagner remained committed to the task.
He said despite the
events of Sept. 11, the FBI still has two agents assigned to Waagner's case.
Jones said that the U.S. Marshals Service is "dedicating a large number of
resources from the Western District of Pennsylvania and also agents from across
Rudge said Waagner is
apparently funding his travel by committing robberies and possibly other crimes.
He said no local burglaries or car thefts or other crimes that have been linked
Waagner, a former
computer shop operator, Rudge said, seems to be constantly on the move. "He
pops in, he pops out and only seems to be in one place for a very short period
of time," he said.
staying, who he's staying with, how he's moving around, we just don't
know," he said.
Rudge said the key to
the elusive fugitive's eventual capture might lie with the public.
underground and hiding in a cave somewhere. We believe he is out in the public.
We just need somebody to recognize him," he said.