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Judge hands down 20 year sentence to man convicted in 2006 Hinsdale train station bombing

CHICAGO — A judge has handed down a 20-year sentence to a former Oakbrook Terrace man convicted of detonating a pipe bomb at a train station in the western suburbs over 17 years ago.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois, Thomas James Zajac was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday for the bombing of a train station in Hinsdale on Sept. 1, 2006, 

The bombing left a station agent injured and the station damaged.

Back in September, Zajac, who is now 70 years old, was convicted on three counts, including attempting to destroy property with an explosive device, possessing an unregistered destructive device, and willfully making a threat through the mail to kill or injure a person with an explosive device.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Zajac planted the pipe bomb in a trash can at the BNSF Railway station in Hinsdale, which detonated during the morning commute. 

Zajac later sent an anonymous letter to police, a month after the bombing, telling officers that it was a “warning shot” and indicated to police that any actions on their part would “likely eventually lead to the death” of a person. 

Police said in the letter, Zajac told officers that he wanted to see if the department was “bright enough or possess[ed] the character to stop the death.”

During the September trial, evidence was presented that revealed that Zajac had felt disrespected by Hinsdale police after the arrest of a family member in 2005.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ordered that Zajac’s sentence be served after the completion of a federal sentence he is currently serving for bombing a library in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2006.

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