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Prescription for Terror

A doctor suspected of hatching an elaborate plot to blow up dozens of mosques and an Islamic education center had enough expertise and firepower to carry it out, police said Saturday.

Robert J. Goldstein, a foot specialist, possessed an arsenal powerful enough to level the 200-unit town house complex where he lives and a detailed "mission template" full of instructions, officials said.

"He was just a smart guy," said sheriff's Detective Cal Dennie. "He knew his stuff. It was like a James Bond thing."

Authorities were still investigating Saturday, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Carlos Baixauli. He wouldn't give details. Representatives of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa didn't immediately return calls.

Goldstein, 37, was arrested Friday and charged with possession of a non-registered destructive device and attempting to use an explosive to damage and destroy Islamic centers. He was being held Saturday without bail.

When police searched his home, they found a cache of up to 40 weapons, including .50-caliber machine guns and sniper rifles. They also uncovered more than 30 explosive devices, including hand grenades and a 5-gallon gasoline bomb with a timer attached.

"If one of those bombs were to have gone off, that town house would have been destroyed," Baixauli said. "If the others exploded, we would have lost most of that town house complex."

Deputies also found a typed list of approximately 50 Islamic places of worship in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area and elsewhere in the state, prosecutors said.

Police were called to Goldstein's home before dawn Friday after the man's mother asked that they make a safety check. Goldstein's wife, Kristi, said her husband was threatening to kill her, according to an affidavit.

Dennie said Goldstein's wife cooperated with investigators, but he did not give details.

Residents of the townhouse complex where Goldstein lives were evacuated but were allowed to return home Friday.

It took police 30 minutes to coax Goldstein out of the home, which was rigged with trip wires and surveillance cameras. He was placed in custody under a state law that allows involuntary commitment for psychiatric evaluation.

At a hearing before a federal magistrate Friday, Goldstein sobbed loudly and responded to questions in low mumbles. His attorneys said Goldstein needed medications that he had been taking.

"We do have some preliminary concerns about his competency," said attorney Myles Malman of Hollywood. He didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Saturday.

The 11-point "mission template" for attacking the Islam education center covered everything from what he would wear to getting rid of fingerprints and dealing with hand-to-hand combat if necessary.

"Set timers for approximately 15-20 minutes to allow for enough time to get out of area, but to confirm explosions has (sic) been successful," the template reads. "The amount of explosives should be ample to take down the building(s)."

The director of an Islamic society whose mosque was found on Goldstein's list said worshippers will increase their vigilance.

"We have to open our eyes," said Mohammad Sultan, director of the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay.

Goldstein's fellow podiatrists were stunned by the arrest. One said Goldstein did not mingle with fellow doctors when they were treated by medical supply companies.

"We never saw him," said Edward Bratton, 47, president of the Pinellas County Podiatry Association.

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