Long Island Man Convicted in $2 Million Extortion Scheme
Defendant Planted Explosive Device and Threatened to Detonate Three Others at Long Island Home Depot Stores
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 17, 2013|
Earlier today at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, a jury convicted the defendant Daniel Sheehan of attempting to extort Home Depot, the national home-improvement chain, and using a destructive device, specifically a pipe bomb, in furtherance of the extortion plot. Sheehan faces a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence for planting the pipe bomb at a Huntington, New York Home Depot store in October 2012, in furtherance of the extortion plot. Sentencing is scheduled before United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley on October 2, 2013.
The conviction was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
The evidence at trial established that in mid-October 2012, Sheehan, a former Home Depot employee, sent an anonymous letter to the Home Depot store in Huntington, warning that a bomb had been placed in the store’s lighting department as a demonstration of his ability to place a bomb in the store without detection and demanded $2 million. Then, in a second letter, Sheehan warned that if Home Depot did not pay the extortion demand, Sheehan would shut down all Home Depot’s Long Island stores on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, by detonating three pipe bombs, each armed with a pound of roofing nails, in three separate Home Depot locations. On October 15, 2012, law enforcement authorities located a functional pipe bomb inside a light fixture box on a shelf in the lighting department of the Huntington Home Depot. Bomb technicians from the Suffolk County Police Department moved the pipe bomb from a shelf to an area that could withstand the blast from a potential detonation, and they rendered the bomb harmless through a controlled render safe procedure.
On November 7, 2012, after an intensive federal, state, and local law enforcement investigation, Sheehan was identified as the sender of the anonymous letters and arrested. At that time, agents seized from Sheehan the cellular phone he used to make two extortion calls to Home Depot.
“Though motivated by greed, not political ideology, this crime was an attempt to commit an act of terrorism, pure and simple. The swift, round the clock efforts of many law enforcement officers and agents put an end to the defendant’s plot to hold the people of our community for ransom,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Nassau County Police Department, and the Suffolk County Probation Department for their invaluable cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
The government’s case was tried by Assistant United States Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz.
Deer Park, New York