• Robin Lyons

Easy Money


When a Special Agent with the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is investigating you; big trouble may soon knock on your front door.


Two ex-cons working together on odd jobs might sound like trouble is brewing. That would be a partially correct assumption in this true-crime.


One convicted felon for burglary worked with another convicted felon for kidnapping, sexual battery, and grand theft. The convicted felon with the more serious crimes on his resume approached the one who had committed fewer crimes with an ‘easy money’ proposition. Assuming he wanted a drug-runner, he told him no.


The friend approached the other again, but with more specifics. If they bombed a retail store chain at random locations in several states, the value of the company’s stock would drop. Then they could purchase stock and wait for the stocks to rebound. “Easy money,” he said, and that he’d pay him $10,000 for his involvement.


The one man told his probation officer and became a confidential informant for the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).


The bomb-maker had concealed the devices in common food packages like stuffing mix, breakfast bars, and pasta. After he received the devices, the informant turned them over to ATF. An explosives enforcement officer determined the devices were capable of property damage, serious injury, or death to people nearby at the time of detonation.


The two felons met at a restaurant to finalize the plan. The informant wore a secret recording device. On the recording, the bomb-maker said,


If someone has to die so that I can make some money, so be it.”

ATF and other agencies executed a search warrant. They found the bomb-making materials matching those in the devices. And because he was a felon on parole, it was a violation to have bomb-making materials in his possession.


He went to trial. A federal jury found him guilty of attempted arson, possession of an unregistered National Firearms Act (NFA) destructive device, and making an unregistered NFA destructive device.


A U.S. District Judge sentenced the 50-year-old man to 40 years in prison.


Be sure to email me if you hear of a true-crime you think would be good in a book. I’ll research it, share it and possibly use it one of my novels.


Source: U.S. District Court, U.S. Department of Justice, The Daytona Beach News-Journal

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