By Dan Colton
for The Beacon
An Oostburg man is being charged with making a terrorist threat after posting a Halloween picture online showing him wearing a trench-coat costume and holding an AR-15 assault rifle with the caption, “Coming to a school near you,” according to police.
Police said Aaron Mauer, 22, recently returned to the U.S. after an overseas deployment and posted the photograph to Snapchat on Oct. 31. A Snapchat friend of Mauer’s took a screenshot of the photograph, police said, and turned it over to the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department.
The friend said Mauer’s actions were uncharacteristic, according to court documents.
“The photo was of (Mauer) wearing a long trench coat and a mask, holding an AR-15 …” a criminal complaint states. “…When asked about the Snapchat story post, (Mauer) admitted he posted the photograph, but said it was a joke and went with his Halloween costume. When asked what his costume was, (Mauer) said he wasn’t sure.”
Police said they explained the “gravity” of the situation to Mauer, saying his actions constituted a felony. Mauer laughed and didn’t take the situation seriously, according to authorities.
Law enforcement obtained a search warrant to enter Mauer’s house. Police said numerous firearms – including the AR-15 – and ammunition were recovered.
Mauer also faces a charge of disorderly conduct.
If found guilty of both charges, Mauer faces up 45 months imprisonment and $11,000 in fines. He is next due in court Nov. 13.
He was released on $5,000 bail with orders to not possess dangerous weapons and ammunition, including at his home.