Wannabe Pipe Bomber Gets 37-Year Sentence

     CHICAGO (CN) – An Iowa machinist who mailed two pipe bombs to investment firms in a terrorist plan to drive up the value of stock he owned was sentenced to 37 years in prison.
     Over a year ago, a jury found John Tomkins, 47, of Dubuque, Iowa, guilty of using a destructive device in mailing a threat, possessing two unregistered devices, and nine counts of mail threats.
     From May 2005 to July 2006, Tomkins sent threatening letters signed either “The Bishop” or “Tic Toc” to investment firms, sometimes citing the Unabomber or noting how easy it is to kill someone.
     Some letters demanded a rally in the stock price of Navarre Corp., or that the price of 3Com stock be raised to $6.66 by a certain date.
     Tomkins also 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,” prosecutors said.
     At trial, Tomkins said the pipe bombs were never intended to detonate, but experts testified that the bombs were fully functional.
     The day he was arrested, investigators also found two assembled pipe bombs in storage garages rented by Tomkins.
     At the sentencing hearing, 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,” the Justice Department press release reported.
     U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro said in a statement, “Tomkins took these terrifying and secretive actions because he was greedy – because he did not like the financial and life situation in which he found himself. To remedy those perceived problems, he decided to terrorize people to get what he wanted. He was indifferent to whether he killed people in the process. For these horrific choices, that he repeatedly made over the course of two years, Tomkins received the lengthy sentence imposed today.”

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