WASHINGTON - A man arrested at the Trump International Hotel in DC made his first appearance in court on Thursday. Court documents say Bryan Moles, a 43-year-old doctor from Edinboro, Pennsylvania, had an assault rifle, a handgun and ammunition in his vehicle in the hotel’s garage.
Moles, a Navy veteran, was arrested Wednesday after the Pennsylvania State Police called DC authorities with a tip they received, indicating he was making threats and traveling to Washington to see President Donald Trump. He is being charged with unlawful possession and transportation of a firearm.
Late Thursday afternoon, a Superior Court judge said he needed more time to decide if he had legal standing to keep Moles behind bars until a hearing in federal court on Friday, or if he should be released. Federal prosecutors were asking that Moles be held until that court appearance.
Just after 7:30 pm, the judge decided to release Moles, ordering him to stay away from the White House until his hearing in federal court on Friday. FOX 5's Matt Ackland reported that Moles would stay overnight at an undisclosed location, where he would have supervision.
According to documents filed Thursday, Moles left a message for an acquaintance saying he had survival supplies, several cell phones and that his car resembled Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh “going on a camping trip.” The documents also say Moles said he was a “refugee intent on bringing down big pharmacy and big business medicine.” He also made mention of Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph, who was convicted of perpetrating multiple acts of domestic terrorism.
The documents say Moles told authorities he suffered from PTSD, is a recovering alcoholic and that he'd drained his bank account before he left.
After his arrest, the Secret Service interviewed Moles and came away satisfied he was no threat to the president or anyone else they protect. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said the weapons charge is serious and that his timely arrest may have averted a disaster.
In Moles' hotel room, investigators found a safe with $10,000 inside, and he told authorities that he'd emptied his bank account "in order to live the life he always wanted before it was too late," according to the charging documents. He left $4.19 in his account, corresponding to the date of McVeigh's bombing of a federal building on April 19, 1995. The blast killed 168 people. Moles told investigators he once wrote a term paper on McVeigh.
Shortly after Moles checked in to the Trump hotel, authorities located Moles' car, unlocked it and found an assault-style rifle and several magazines with ammunition, as well as rifle accessories and a semi-automatic pistol with six rounds of ammunition in it.
Moles' Facebook page is sprinkled with comments and photos indicating support for Trump. Last week, he posted a question: "If you had to choose between a Hilton Hotel and a Trump hotel, which would you choose and why?" Someone replied, "Trump all the way. The dark side wants to disarm the public so they can ... just walk through any resistance to their fascist thought police." Moles liked the comment.
A longtime friend of Moles said "there is absolutely no way" he was planning violence. Lisa DellaRatta, a nurse practitioner in Florida, said she's known him for more than 25 years and used to live with him. She said Moles "cannot be a more standup man."
She said guns are prevalent in the rural area near Lake Erie where she and Moles grew up, and he's always owned them.
Pennsylvania records show Moles renewed his license to practice medicine in October 2016. A spokeswoman at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center system said he had been placed on administrative leave there some time before Wednesday's arrest
The Associated Press contributed to this report.