Man who detonated pipe bomb in Hinsdale train station convicted

A federal jury Monday convicted a former Oakbrook Terrace man of detonating a pipe bomb inside a suburban Chicago train station in 2006.

The jury convicted Thomas James Zajac of all three counts against him, including attempting to destroy property with an explosive device, possession of an unregistered destructive device, and willfully making a threat through the mail to kill or injure a person with an explosive device, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

On Sept. 1, 2006, Zajac placed a pipe bomb in a trash can at the BNSF Railway station in west suburban Hinsdale. The device exploded during the morning commute, injuring an employee and causing damage to the station.

About a month later, Zajac sent an anonymous letter to the Hinsdale Police Department, telling police they had "[expletive] with" the wrong person and that he had "fired a warning shot" with the pipe bomb detonation. The letter also stated that any police investigation would "likely eventually lead to the death" of at least one person in Hinsdale, and that Zajac wanted to see whether authorities were "bright enough or possess[ed] the character to stop this death."

Evidence shown during the trial showed Zajac was upset over the arrest of a family member by Hinsdale police in 2015.

The verdict means Zajac now faces up to 20 years in prison on the destruction of property count and as much as 10 years in prison on the other two counts. A sentencing hearing has been set for Dec. 13.