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Reports: Former Pittsburgh man with alleged ties to ISIS arrested in Virginia

Megan Guza
| Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, 7:27 p.m.
FBI agents remove items Friday from a home in Sterling, Va.
FBI agents remove items Friday from a home in Sterling, Va.

A former Pittsburgh man who allegedly wanted to join the Islamic State group was arrested Friday night after an hours-long FBI raid in Virginia, multiple Washington D.C.-area news outlets reported.

Sean Andrew Duncan, who moved from Pittsburgh to Sterling, Va., in June, allegedly used the internet to research how to make bombs and weapons, according to court documents obtained by NBC4 and Fox 5 in Washington.

A relative of Duncan's reportedly told investigators that he had "converted to Islam, may have been radicalized and voiced his approval of Westerners being beheaded in the Middle East," Fox 5 reported.

According to information pulled from court documents by NBC4, Allegheny County police in June gave the FBI a copy of Duncan's phone, and the FBI found numerous searches for ISIS-related material, ISIS attacks, weapons, body armor, and surveillance and defense tactics. Allegheny County police had obtained a copy of his phone while investigating the death of Duncan's infant child. The cause of the child's death was inconclusive, documents said.

According to information pulled from FBI court documents by NBC4:

Duncan and his wife were interviewed by the FBI after traveling to Turkey on Feb. 26, 2016. Duncan deleted his Facebook account two days after being interviewed by the FBI, according to the documents.

Duncan allegedly had contact with a foreign detained ISIS supporter who told the FBI Duncan had expressed interest in joining ISIS and conducting an attack in the United States. The woman said Duncan gave her instructions on how to build homemade bombs. Duncan would also share news articles with her from Amaq News, an ISIS news outlet, the documents said. The woman also told the FBI Duncan had asked her to go to Syria and to be his second wife.

This month, the FBI found a Twitter account allegedly associated with Duncan's phone number. The Twitter handle was @DawlahtulIslaam, which roughly translates to "the Islamic State."

According Fox 5:

The FBI says the searches are "indicative of an individual planning and researching how to conduct an attack and defend himself from bodily harm."

The FBI got more information on Duncan from a woman in custody of international authorities for actively planning to join ISIS, as well as a known ISIS recruiter, and an undercover FBI employee.

Documents show a search was authorized for Duncan's home in Sterling on Dec. 19, and was executed by FBI agents Friday.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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