Illinois Resident Sentenced for Sending
Fake Bomb Threats to Atlanta Area Schools
ATLANTA – The man who placed school officials, parents and students in fear by mailing bomb threats to several local area middle and high schools was sentenced today by United States District Judge Willis B. Hunt, Jr., for mailing false bomb threats to Northview High School, Marietta High School, Stephenson Middle School, and Meadowcreek High School. Valtrez Stewart, 29, of Chicago, Illinois, pleaded guilty to these charges on January 27, 2012.
Sally Quillian Yates, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said, “It is disturbing that this individual threatened children and wasted law enforcement resources as part of his retaliation scheme. Every bomb threat is taken seriously and, as the defendant learned today, there are serious consequences whether the threat is real or a hoax.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) has the unenviable task of taking in vast amounts of information, processing it, and making critical time sensitive decisions based on that information. When such hoaxes surface, as was the case in this matter, it cannot be tolerated as it needlessly detracts from the overall mission of the FBI and its JTTF.”
Stewart was sentenced to 3 years, 10 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court, between January 28, 2011, and February 2, 2011, Valtrez Stewart mailed bomb threats to Northview High School, Marietta High School, Stephenson Middle School, and Meadowcreek High School. Each threat consisted of a collage of newspaper and magazine clippings of words and numbers. The message stated, in part, that a bomb would detonate at the school killing at least 20 people and promised brutal murders if money was not paid by a certain date to particular individuals who were listed in the threat each school received as persons supposedly responsible for sending the threat.
It turned out that none of the individuals named as being the person to whom money should be sent to avert detonation of the bomb had knowledge of the threat. The FBI’s investigation revealed that Stewart sent the threats in an effort to cause the police to harass these certain individuals against whom he had a grudge. Law enforcement officials soon identified Stewart as the source of the threats when it was discovered that all the threats were mailed from Stewart’s hometown in Illinois and that Stewart was connected to all the people who were identified as the alleged senders of the letters. There were never any bombs, and the schools and students were never in any danger.
This case is being investigated by Task Force Officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chamblee Police Department, the Marietta Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Dekalb County Police Department, and Johns Creek Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Tracia M. King is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney's Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.