By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota National Guardsman, accused of stealing hundreds of soldiers’ identities, had a target list that included billionaire Warren Buffet.

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Keith Novak made his first appearance in federal court Monday on a fraud charge related to the identity theft.

Novak is charged with one count of fraud in connection with the theft of personal identification information for more than 400 active-duty U.S. soldiers.

The FBI revealed that much of the evidence against Novak comes from their taped conversations with him.

Monday’s hearing was brief and contained small bits of testimony that raises a lot more questions about this 25-year-old National Guardsman.

FBI Agent Christopher Crowe testified that Novak first came to the attention of the bureau when he talked to an FBI source about getting militia members to blow up facilities of the National Security Agency at Camp Williams in Utah.

Undercover agents have been investigating Novak for the past eight months. Crowe detailed how Novak described himself as the commander of a Minnesota militia called ‘Spatha Libertas.’

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Crowe said that in July, Novak brought undercover FBI agents to his Maplewood apartment and allowed them to photograph a classified document he had stolen while on active duty at Fort Bragg.

He said Novak later sold the undercover agents the identity information for 44 soldiers. Court documents say he stole 400 identities of soldiers from Fort Bragg when he was stationed at the North Carolina base.

He testified that Novak also gave the undercover agents a “target package,” which included information about billionaire Warren Buffet. But Crowe offered no additional details about the kind of information Novak provided about Buffet, or what could be done with the information.

Novak boasted, according to Crowe, that he would shoot anyone who ever tried to arrest him. When he was apprehended at his Maplewood apartment, Crowe said Novak resisted arrest, and was armed with a semi-automatic pistol.

In court Monday, Novak’s defense attorney Anders Folk argued that his client should be freed pending the outcome of the case.

But Federal Magistrate Franklin Noel ruled that he should remain in the Sherburne County Jail.

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The case will now go to a grand jury.

Esme Murphy