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Press Release

Rochester Man Pleads Guilty To Setting Off Explosive Devices In A City Neighborhood

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that James A. Pane, 50, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa to threatening by mail to injure or intimidate and unlawfully damage and destroy property by means of an explosive. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.   

Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn M. Hartford, who is handling the case, stated that between January 20 and February 2, 2021, the defendant set off numerous explosions in the area of Falleson Road in the City of Rochester. On January 23, 2021, Pane set off an explosion near the residences at 94 Leander Road and 288 Falleson Road. Residents of 94 Leander Road heard two loud booms that shook the entire house, and the explosion caused a hole the size of a softball and burn marks in the siding of the house and damaged a window. The resident of 288 Falleson Road told police that other explosions had been set off at that location on previous days. On February 2, 2021, the defendant set off another explosion near 288 Falleson Road.

Between February 24 and March 9, 2021, Pane mailed 10 letters to 10 separate residences in the Falleson Road/Leander Road neighborhood. The letters appeared similar in nature and the envelopes were plain white with no return address. The envelopes were all processed through the main United States postal plant on Jefferson Road in Henrietta, NY. Inside each envelope was a single piece of paper with large, printed words stating: “I don't mean to bother you people in this neighborhood. But the little (expletive) crack head at 288 Falleson owes me a lot of money for drugs. He is a liar and a thief. He burned down his father’s cottage in the 1000 island for the insurance money, which he was supposed to pay me off with. He didn’t. I will keep throwing bombs off in his yard until he pays. call the cops they won't catch me.”

On March 2, 2021, investigators searched Pane’s garbage at his Harding Road residence and recovered a list of numerous Falleson Road and Leander Road addresses, including the house numbers. Nine of the 10 addresses which received the threatening letter were on the list. The 10th address (288 Falleson Road) was the address of the target of the explosions.

After his arrest on April 8, 2021, the defendant stated, among other things, that he had an ongoing dispute with an individual that he believed was spreading false rumors about him. Pane threatened the individual several times to stop spreading the rumors but when the individual did not stop, he made the explosive devices and started setting them off. Pane sent the letters in hopes that the neighbors would confront the individual.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito, New York Field Division; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia, the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, the Rochester Fire Department, under the direction of Chief Felipe Hernandez Jr., and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard. Additional assistance was provided by the Buffalo and Syracuse Resident Offices of the ATF. 

Sentencing is scheduled for January 24, 2022 at 10:15 a.m. before Judge Siragusa.

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Updated October 19, 2021

Violent Crime