Pipe Bomber Gets 37 Years

CHICAGO (CN) – An Iowa man who mailed pipe bombs to investment firms to try to drive up the value of stock he owned was sentenced Tuesday to 37 years in prison.
     A federal jury convicted John Tomkins, 48, of using a destructive device in mailing a threat, possessing two unregistered devices, and nine counts of mail threats, in May 2012.
     Tomkins, a machinist from Dubuque, sent threatening letters signed “The Bishop” or “Tic Toc” to investment firms, sometimes citing the Unabomber or noting how easy it is to kill someone. He sent the threats from May 2005 to July 2006.
     Some letters demanded a rally in the stock price of Navarre Corp., or that the price of 3Com stock be raised to a certain price by a certain date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement announcing his sentence.
     Tomkins mailed two pipe bombs, one to Janus Small Cap in Denver, and one to American Century in Kansas City, Mo. Each package included a threatening letter that stated, “Bang!! You’re dead.
     Tomkins said at his trial that the bombs were not intended to detonate, but experts testified that the bombs were functional.
     The day he was arrested, investigators found two assembled pipe bombs in storage garages he rented.
     At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said Tomkins “taunted” and “terrified” the recipients of his threats, who could have been killed in “a series of horrific crimes.”
     It’s unclear how Tomkins expected his victims to be able to drive up the price of publicly traded stock.

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