Feds: Man sent dozens of letters threatening bombs

January 6, 2012

The Associated Press

A Chicago man is accused of mailing dozens of letters purporting to be from Osama bin Laden and claiming that the terrorist group al-Qaida had planted remote-controlled nuclear bombs throughout the country.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted 51-year-old Timothy O'Donnell on nine charges of falsely threatening use of explosives. The charges were announced Friday by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and the FBI.

Officials contend O'Donnell sent dozens of identically worded letters to people in 16 states in March saying the bombs had been planted in schools, churches, hospitals, financial institutions and government buildings.

Authorities say there was no danger of O'Donnell following through with the alleged threats, but the charges show there are serious consequences for people who make false threats.