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by Larry Altman
Sunday, Sep. 29, 2002 at 6:48 AM
Interesting what does and doesn't appear in the "mainstream" news, isn't it??
South Bay bomb-anthrax plot unravels
TERROR: Authorities say goal was to force the release of
suspect. Torrance man is sentenced.
By Larry Altman
It was an elaborate plot that police say was designed to
cause chaos with
explosions and an anthrax scare.
Using homemade bombs encased in white powder, the
participants figured they
would create so much public hysteria that police
officials would release a
suspected white supremacist from prison to help put an
end to the turmoil.
In the end, however, an antiterrorism team broke up the
scheme, kept the
prisoner behind bars and arrested a 20-year-old Torrance
man they say built
two bombs at home.
“This whole plot was hatched in an effort to benefit
this guy in prison,”
Redondo Beach police Lt. John Skipper said. “If we had
not found out about
this, they would have ignited these devices and it would
caused a great deal of panic.”
The plan called for planting bombs encased in a white
powder at the Roybal
Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles, an
unidentified Torrance school
and three other locations.
Police said the plot started to unravel March 20, when
prisoners’ telephone calls at Wasco State Prison in Kern
and recorded conversations about a biological threat
anthrax distributed through the mail, Torrance police
Lt. Patrick Shortall
The FBI alerted its Long Beach-based antiterrorism task
force when it was
determined the calls were from Torrance, Shortall said.
South Bay police
officers joined the task force after 9-11.
Authorities would not identify the inmate, but he was
cooperated with prison authorities in the case. It was
unclear whether he
The plan hatched by the group — possibly involved with a
organization — was to go like this: Bombs would be
placed in the Roybal
Federal Building, on a bus bench outside the Torrance
school, at the
inmate’s former girlfriend’s home, and at two locations
at a Hampton Inn
Hotel in Bakersfield. Conspirators, meanwhile, planned
to mail the powder
to locations throughout the country to cause an anthrax
scare, Shortall said.
After some of the bombs detonated, the group would
inform police officials
that if they cooperated and let the inmate out of
prison, he would take
them to the locations of the other bombs.
Those bombs, he would tell them, were near the El Cortez
Hotel in Las Vegas
and he needed to go there to point them out. Once there,
aid him in breaking free from police officers and he
would escape on a
motorcycle kept hidden inside a parked van.
Police say they have no idea whether any of this would
have worked, but
they foiled it before anything could get started.
“This plan would have gone off without the intervention
of the police,”
Once they listened to the prison telephone calls and
Bristol Tyner, an Anza Avenue resident on the other end
of the line, they
enticed the inmate to cooperate with them. The inmate,
Shortall said, told
Tyner to meet a man named “Bob” who would pay him
,000 for his role in
the plan, which included holding and transporting 3
pounds of “anthrax.”
The two were then to set out to initiate the plan.
Bob actually was an undercover police officer who
arranged to meet Tyner on
March 21, Shortall said. Before that meeting, however,
confronted him about a white supremacist mailing that
arrived from the
prison inmate, and about items used to make bombs that
they found in the
apartment, Shortall said. The parents talked Tyner out
of meeting “Bob” and
took the explosives to a trash bin in Gardena, where
they were discarded,
Police swarmed into the apartment on March 21, arrested
Tyner and found the
bomb parts in the trash bin, Shortall said.
“They are crudely made attempts at pipe bombs, which
included the use of a
hundred .22-caliber rounds,” Shortall said.
Tyner was charged with conspiracy to make and place
but FBI bomb experts later concluded the pipes and end
caps would not
create an operable bomb, Deputy District Attorney Steven
Prosecutors offered Tyner a chance to plead to a lesser
charge. He took it
and pleaded guilty June 13 to a felony charge of
malicious possession of a
facsimile bomb. He received 16 months in state prison.
“I took it very
seriously,” Belis said. “I wouldn’t offer anything less
than state prison
for this guy.”
Tyner’s father said Tuesday that police officials blew
the whole thing out
of proportion and that his son is a “patsy,” manipulated
by the prison
inmate and police.
Police would not identify the inmate, but Tyner’s
father, also Phillip
Tyner, identified the man as Rick Sutton and provided
identification number. Department of Corrections records
Wayne Sutton with that identification number was sent to
prison Feb. 27 on
a two-year forgery sentence. He is now at San Quentin
“The FBI is investigating the inmate . . . and whatever
larger thing he
might be involved in,” Belis said.
Tyner’s father said his son did not know Sutton until
they met at county
jail in February. Tyner had been arrested on a graffiti
charge and was
Tyner’s father said Sutton took advantage of his son,
who is bipolar.
“He had fear of this guy,” the father said. “This guy
was supposed to have
people outside. He was told to make a fake bomb.”
The father said he found two bombs in the apartment and
Each contained pipe, end caps, twisted wire and bullets.
“They used my son as a patsy,” he said. “The police
department, the group
of guys and the FBI.”
The father said the police blew the incident out of
proportion to make it
look like they are doing something in the wake of the
9-11 terrorist attacks.
“There was no way in the world that these (bombs) were
going to go off,” he
said. “You could tell it wasn’t real. It wasn’t going to
Police agreed the incident was not a sophisticated
terrorism plot, but said
the investigation and intervention was necessary to
thwart an attack.
“It’s not a harmless event at all,” Shortall said.
“People don’t get
arrested for making destructive devices for no reason.”
Publish Date:September 25, 2002
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