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updated: 5/21/2013 6:23 PM

Man sentenced for mailing pipe bombs, threats

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  • John P. Tomkins

    John P. Tomkins


A former machinist from Dubuque, Iowa, was sentenced by a federal judge Tuesday to 37 years in prison for mailing pipe bombs and threatening letters to investment firms, including some sent from Rolling Meadows and Palatine.

John P. Tomkins, 48, known as "the bishop" for how he signed his letters, mailed the bombs and threats between 2005 and 2007, federal authorities said in a prepared statement. Among the items were two explosive devices he mailed Jan. 26, 2007, to Denver and Kansas City, Mo., from the Rolling Meadows Post Office.

Other packages and letters bore postmarks from Palatine, Chicago, Milwaukee, Des Moines and Orlando, Fla. Some were reportedly mailed to addresses in Barrington Hills and Naperville.

The letters demanded that Navarre Corp. stocks rally and the price of 3Com Corp. stocks be raised by a certain date, federal authorities said. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission records show Tomkins had financial interests in both of those companies and that his stocks would have increased in value had his demands been met, authorities said.

Tomkins has been in federal custody since his arrest on April 25, 2007. That same day, law enforcement officials recovered two pipe bombs from Dubuque storage garages which Tomkins had rented that were similar to the ones mailed. Officials also recovered materials used to make the explosive devices, authorities said.

Federal officials said none of Tomkins' intended targets suffered physical injuries. However, as he imposed the sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. commented that a dozen individuals could have been seriously injured or killed as a result of what he called Tomkins' "series of horrific crimes."

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