An ex Home Depot employee involved in a bomb and extortion plot has been sentenced to 30 years in a federal prison. The former employee threatened the big box home store with setting off pipe bombs at three suburban New York locations on Black Friday, 2012. The man demanded a $2 million dollar payout in lieu of detonating the bombs.
Writes Reuters news service on Feb. 7, via Yahoo News: “Daniel Sheehan, 52, of Deer Park, New York was convicted in 2013 of threatening to explode the bombs on the day after Thanksgiving Day the previous year, according to his trial attorney Leonard Lato.”
In October 2012, Sheehan sent the Huntington Home Depot in Suffolk County an anonymous letter, stating that a bomb had been hidden in the store’s lighting department, and would go off if Home Depot refused to pay. The store was evacuated. Sheehan said he had planted similar bombs in three other areas Home Depots, a claim that was eventually proven false.
The 52-year-old Sheehan sent two letters; the second letter lowered his ransom demand to one million after police and bomb squad officials found the device. According to a NY Times article from 2012, in Sheehan’s second letter, he “threatened to wear explosives to a meeting that he unsuccessfully tried to arrange in which he would pick up the ransom money. He wrote that he would be wearing ‘2 devices strapped to a belt and 1 to a neck chain that I will be wearing, wired together and attached to a deadman switch in my hand,’ according to the complaint.”
Federal prosecutors said Sheehan did craft one device – a six-inch pipe filled with explosive powder and roofing nails attached to a 9-volt battery. The FBI stated that Sheehan showed a “degree of expertise in bomb making.” Bomb disposal officers removed Sheehan’s device and detonated it.
“This is a frightening type of crime,” said U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley. At the time of his arrest, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said: “The only payout Sheehan will receive will be the full measure of justice for his actions.”
After sending the letters, the thwarted Sheehan was able to elude authorities for three weeks. Sheehan had purchased a prepaid phone with cash from a local 7-Eleven in order to reiterate his threats by making phone calls to Home Depot’s corporate offices. The FBI was able to trace the prepaid phone to the store location where Sheehan purchased it, and then used data from the cellular network to pinpoint Sheehan, who still had the phone in his possession.
Adds Reuters: “The judge said he would determine later how much money Sheehan owes Home Depot for security and other costs connected to the failed plot, according to Lato, who Sheehan dismissed as his attorney following the verdict. Prosecutors said Home Depot estimated spending about $1.5 million for security guards, bomb-sniffing dogs and other protection measures.”
Sheehan and his attorney had turned down a plea deal in 2013 that would have given him 12 years in jail. His defense team had attempted to argue that the device Sheehan made “wasn’t really a bomb” because it had no triggering device attached to it. He plans to appeal his sentence.