CHICAGO — A federal jury has convicted a former Oakbrook Terrace man of detonating a pipe bomb at a train station in the western suburbs over 15 years ago, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois.
On Monday, a federal jury in Chicago convicted Thomas James Zajac of detonating the bomb at a train station in Hinsdale on Sept. 1, 2006, leaving the station damaged and a station agent injured.
Zajac, who is now 70 years old, was convicted on all three counts against him, 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 sent an anonymous letter to police a month after the bombing telling officers that it was a “warning shot” and indicated to officers that any actions on their part would “likely eventually lead to the death” of a person. In the letter, Zajac told police that he wanted to see if the department was “bright enough or possess[ed] the character to stop the death.”
During the trial, evidence was presented revealing that Zajac had felt disrespected by Hinsdale police after the arrest of a family member in 2005.
Zajac, who is set to be sentenced on Dec. 13, could face between five and 20 years in prison for the property destruction count and 10 years for the other two counts.