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Reports: Neo-Nazi buys Penobscot County land to build 'white supremacist community'

Christopher Pohlhaus moved to Springfield in 2022, according to VICE News. His move worries some residents and experts say it could stoke more neo-Nazi incidents.

SPRINGFIELD, Maine — When it comes to the neo-Nazi extremist movement, Christopher Pohlhaus is considered a man with a significant following.

Speaking to his followers on the social media app Telegram, he documented his move to Maine and his desire to recruit white people to live and build a community there with him.

"There will likely not be another chance in my lifetime to fight alongside other NS men against a multi-ethnic invading empire to defend an almost all white nation," Pohlhaus told his followers on Telegram.

Starting in 2023, Pohlhaus has purchased land in the town of Springfield. County records show he purchased about 10 acres of land for $25,000. He told the Southern Poverty Law Center he has around 100 acres under construction, with the hopes of building homes and facilities for training.

"He moved from Texas to Maine to try and build this group," Jeff Tischauser, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. "What they are doing at the camp right now is building it, they're clearing trees and making space to build structure."

NEWS CENTER Maine reached out to Pohlhaus over email but did not hear back.

When it comes to those that live in Springfield, they are aware of the neo-Nazi's presence, and said community members are concerned.

"I think no one has come right out and said it, but from reading the different articles, it's obvious that is what he is trying to do," a person working in Springfield said. "I think they are concerned."

The person working in Springfield asked to not be named as she feared retaliation.

"We are just a pretty close-knit community... we generally know everyone, but once in a while someone comes through like this one, that we don't know," she said.

Maine State Police confirmed Tuesday it is aware of Pohlhaus' actions but has not made contact with him.

For people researching domestic terrorism, like University of Maine professor Karyn Sporer, this isn't the first time someone has tried to establish a white-only community.

"All of them ended in some sort of violent interaction," Sporer said. "These spaces provide an escape from the mainstream, where they can spew their rhetoric without being doxed or outed from the community."

Sporer said within these groups, their goal may be isolation, but violence leaks into nearby communities.

"Say if there was a drag queen event at the Bangor Public Library, they could easily mobilize and go to the event," Sporer said. "When it comes to taking these threats seriously, one thing is making sure local sheriffs take this seriously."

Sporer said local law enforcement needs to monitor these groups such as Pohlhaus' community and NSC 131 in order to stop them before violence occurs.

"The reminder of how important it is for early prevention practices when it comes to preventing radicalization in the first place," Sporer said.

We saw this occur when Portland Police responded to a neo-Nazi march by NSC 131 members on April 1.

No one was arrested by police. Community members protested and criticized the city and department for how they handled the incident.

After a months-long investigation, the city suggested hate crime and first amendment training for officers.

NEWS CENTER Maine asked the Portland Police for an interview about how that training is going, but it was declined.

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