Owner of vacuum shop tied to 'insane' Michigan militia plot doing damage control

Six people accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: FBI

The FBI thwarted an alleged plot by six people who contemplated a violent overthrow of the government.

The owner of a vacuum shop where an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Grethen Whitmer unfolded said he was clueless about the "insane" plans.

Brian Titus, owner of Vac Shack in Grand Rapids, said one of the six men charged in the conspiracy to abduct Whitmer was a family friend who was living in the basement of his store. 

Titus knew Adam Fox, 37, was involved in a militia group and at one point urged him to get out.

"I knew he was part of the militia and he would go to rallies in Lansing," Titus told Fox News Friday. Some of the men charged in the attempt to violently overthrow the government were involved in armed protests taking place at the state Capitol to protest Whitmer's coronavirus lockdown restrictions. 

"I've been trying to tell him to get out of the militia because you're wasting your time. … You need to get out. Of course, he didn't listen. He got involved with some radicals."

Law enforcement raided the Vac Shack on Wednesday as part of their investigation into Fox, who referred to Whitmer as a "tyrant b—h," court papers allege.  Titus said his computer and cell phone were also seized to see if Fox had used them to coordinate the attempted kidnapping.

"He crossed that line … and he did it secretly," Titus said.

Titus said he helped Fox over the years, including graduating high school, and Fox didn't really have a family to lean on.

"What's really depressing is I [saw] no signs of him being involved with something like this," Titus said. "That's what crazy."

Federal authorities alleged Fox had meetings at the vacuum shop to discuss assaulting the Michigan State Capitol, countering law enforcement and using Molotov cocktails to destroy police vehicles.

Since authorities foiled the plot and pressed charges Thursday, Titus says his shop has been swarmed by the press and his customers have been concerned. 

"I was doing damage control," he said. "I was not involved in any of this stuff."

He's assured his customers they are all welcome at his business and "it's safe to come here."

Titus also wished Whitmer well.

"She has kids and family. I don't agree with everything she does but, c'mon, you know she's doing her job … what they were planning to do is freaking insane," he said. 

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