A mass catastrophe was avoided after a Home Depot worker was charged with planting a pipe bomb in a Long Island store and threatening to detonate three more bombs on Black Friday as part of a $2 million extortion scheme.
According to FBI officials, Daniel Patrick Sheehan, 50, was held without bail after a brief court appearance in which he maintained his innocence and claimed the FBI coerced him into confessing.
Sheehan, who worked at the Home Depot in Deer Park, had set the plot in motion last month, mailing an anonymous letter to the Huntington store claiming that a bomb had been hidden in the lighting department.
As reported by the New York Daily News:
The letter was received Oct. 15 and also contained the threat to "Shut Down All (Home Depots) LI Stores On Black Friday" unless the mad bomber was paid $2 million.
Police located the bomb and determined it was workable and that whoever made it "had some expertise in constructing destructive devices," FBI special agent John Triolo stated in the complaint.
Sheehan warned that three devices, each packed with a pound of roofing nails and capable of being detonated by cell phone, would be planted in three different stores if the ransom wasn't paid. Five days later, the would-be terrorist sent the Home Depot a second letter lowering his ransom demand to $1 million.
According to court documents, on Oct. 26, Sheehan began complaining the money drop was crawling with cops. The FBI and Suffolk County Police were able to trace the phone number, the store where the phone was purchased and zero in on the location, the complaint states.
Sheehan was found with the phone when he was arrested on Wednesday night.
Home Depot said in a statement:
"We apologize to customers for this inconvenience and want both associates and customers to know that their safety is our first priority."
Sheehan and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 1995 and 2000. Sheehan will most likely be charged with making terrorist threats and spend the rest of his life in jail.