He could have received 20 years in prison.
John Douglas Allen, 76, was sentenced before United States District Judge Thomas Ludington in Bay City, Michigan. Allen had pleaded guilty to extortion by wrongful use of force, violence, and fear, as well as two counts of attempted destruction of a building using an explosive device in July.
According to court records, Allen admitted that on September 15, 2021, at approximately 7:36 pm, he placed a United States Postal Service (USPS) box with black tape on it and a wire coming out of it outside an AT&T Store in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Later that evening, Allen placed another USPS box with black tape and a wire outside of a Verizon Store in Cheboygan, Michigan.
The FBI laboratory Explosive Unit examined the two devices which concluded that they were improvised explosive devices (IEDs), also commonly referred to as pipe bombs. Both pipe bombs contained shrapnel.
In addition, threat notes demanding $5 million were placed on cell phone towers in the area and mailed to the telecommunications companies. Based on video footage taken from the cell phone stores and other nearby businesses, as well as an exhaustive investigation by law enforcement, agents were able to determine that Allen was the person who left the packages outside of the stores. The defendant claimed he was motivated by what he viewed as immoral content spreading on the internet and cell phones.
Also, Allen pleaded guilty to placing letters containing threats aimed at telecommunications providers at cell towers in the Upper Peninsula.
“This defendant sought to use terror, threats, and bombs to scare ordinary people going about their business,” stated U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. “We will not tolerate individuals who use fear to try to line their own pockets.”
“A top priority for my office is ensuring the safety of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Allen’s actions in placing pipe bombs in front of commercial businesses endangered not only the lives of innocent individuals but also our first responders and the bomb technicians who rendered those devices safe. My office will continue aggressively pursuing individuals for crimes like this that put our first responders and communities at risk.”