updated 7/15/2005 11:03:37 PM ET 2005-07-16T03:03:37

Law enforcement authorities warned the Israeli Consulate and California National Guard that their facilities were on a list of possible terror targets that police found recently while investigating a string of robberies, officials said Friday.

“We’re very concerned about it,” said Maj. Jon Siepmann, the California National Guard’s deputy director of communications. “There was evidence that an attack was at least being planned.”

Police found the list while searching the home of a man arrested last week in connection with gas station robberies in south Santa Monica Bay communities. The list included three National Guard facilities in the greater Los Angeles area, said Siepmann, who described the threat as apparently “very serious.”

He declined to discuss specifics.

Yariv Ovadia, the Israeli consul for communications and public affairs, declined to discuss details of any threat to his facility or say whether the consulate tightened security in response.

The warnings followed the July 5 arrests by Torrance police of Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21, and Levar Haney Washington, 25, of Los Angeles, on suspicion of robbery. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed last week that the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was investigating the case, but declined to describe the focus of the probe or provide other details.

Suspect called ‘idealistic young man’
Patterson and Washington have not been charged with any federal crimes.

Patterson’s attorney, Winston McKesson, said the federal government has provided him with no information about an investigation of Patterson.

“I believe once the investigation is complete, it will be abundantly clear that my client has no part in a terrorist plot,” McKesson said.

Patterson’s mother, Abbie Patterson, has described her son as an “idealistic young man” and Christian who recently converted to Islam. She said he met Washington about six months ago.

Jerome Haig, a public defender representing Washington, did not immediately return a telephone message Friday afternoon.

Earlier this year, Patterson worked for several months at a duty-free shop at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a man who answered the telephone at the business Friday. The store is near the El Al Israeli Airlines ticket counter, where an Egyptian immigrant shot and killed two people in a July 4, 2002, attack.

Sheryl Stein, an El Al spokeswoman, said she was not aware of any specific, new threat against the carrier.

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