Aryan Republican Army

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Aryan Republican Army
Aryan Republican Army.jpg
Full Name: Aryan Republican Army
Alias: ARA
Midwest Bank Bandits
Foundation: 1992
Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Commanders: Peter Kevin Langan
Agents: Scott Stedeford
Mark Thomas
Michael Brescia
Richard Guthrie Jr.
Kevin McCarthy
Goals: Overthrow of the United States Federal Government to establish all-White Republic (failed)
Crimes: Terrorism
Armed robbery

The Aryan Republican Army was the name given to a white supremacist hate group active in the United States in the early to mid-1990s. The group is alleged to have associated with convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh in the months before the Oklahoma City Bombing; although never legally acknowledged, many theorists believe the ARA funneled robbery money to help fund the bombing as a direct response to the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges. They also reportedly had ties to the Christian Identity movement.


The organization was sometimes referenced in the media as the Midwest Bank Robbers. The group was created by Peter Langan and Richard Lee Guthrie in 1992. The group considered themselves a leaderless organization, meaning that there was no true leader to the group and that they were more of a group of associated people acting together to achieve their goals. Although the group was mainly a criminal enterprise, they did have a terrorist like agenda.

With the money they were able to steal in the 22 confirmed robberies they were involved in, the group began stockpiling weapons and ammunition. It is believed that the group wished to start a race war with the weapons that were stockpiled. The group began to fall apart as members of the Aryan Republican Army were arrested after one of the former members of the group became an informant as part of a plea bargain. By mid-1996, practically all known members had been apprehended and the group was in shambles.

Members of the Aryan Republican Army were responsible for a series of 22 bank robberies in the American Midwest. They reportedly targeted banks in the Midwest due to a belief that security measures there would be less thorough. Interestingly, the group often left fake explosive devices at the banks they robbed in order to divert law enforcement officials that could potentially be chasing them.

Known members of the ARA include Michael William Brescia, Mark William Thomas, Shawn Kenny, Richard Lee Guthrie Jr., Peter Kevin Langan, Kevin McCarthy, and Scott Stedeford. Subsequent to their arrest, Guthrie, Langan, McCarthy and Thomas became witnesses for the prosecution. Richard Lee Guthrie reportedly hanged himself while in custody, a day before he was to give a television interview about an alleged cover-up related to the death of Kenneth Michael Trentadue, also found hanged while in custody. All members otherwise received prison sentences of varying lengths, on an array of state and/or federal charges.

Connection to the Oklahoma City bombing

Several accounts have linked the ARA with Timothy McVeigh, convicted of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 and injured hundreds more.

Brescia and Guthrie both resided for a time at Elohim City, Oklahoma, a private community made up of followers of the late Christian Identity pastor Robert G. Millar, and other persons associated with right-wing extremist and White nationalist-style views. Other ARA members were known to frequent Elohim City as well. Elohim City security director Andreas Strassmeir was a known associate of Timothy McVeigh (having met him at a Tulsa gun show), and federal investigators determined that McVeigh had made a phone call to Elohim City on April 5, 1995, just two weeks prior to the Oklahoma City bombing (although no one at Elohim City claims to have spoken with him).

Additionally, five separate women from a nightclub in Tulsa have each identified Brescia as the man who was paying for Timothy McVeigh's drinks on April 8, 1995, just three days after McVeigh's suspicious phone call. Two more women in Kansas reported that McVeigh and Brescia were frequent associates, while Guthrie bore a distinct physical resemblance to "John Doe Number Two". Timothy McVeigh's sister, Jennifer, also claimed that he had been one of the participants in several, unspecified bank robberies.

David Paul Hammer, a convicted murderer who was imprisoned with McVeigh at the United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute, has alleged that McVeigh told him details of the Oklahoma City bombing that contradict the account related in court.

According to Hammer, McVeigh claimed to have been working as a deep cover operative for the US Department of Defense, having infiltrated ARA and participated in several of the group's bank robberies. McVeigh is further alleged to have indicated Strassmeir and several others at Elohim City were similarly government agents involved in surveillance of extremist elements of the American far-right.