SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — An Oakland man received a 40-year prison sentence for mailing bombs intended to kill or injure Bay Area law enforcement officers who he wanted revenge on, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
In the fall of 2017, Ross Laverty, 61, mailed two improvised explosive devices that injured a man with the same name as one of his targets and the wife of a police officer who arrested Laverty in 2013, according to prosecutors. The explosion of the first device left the man with bleeding hands and blisters on his stomach, prosecutors said. The victim still suffers from ringing in his ears, hand cramps and difficulty concentrating, according to prosecutors.
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The explosion of the second device injured the police officer’s wife. She suffered head injuries after opening the package that contained the bomb, prosecutors said. The woman still suffers from pain and ringing in her ears, according to prosecutors.
“My heart goes out to the innocent victims of these horrific acts,” said United States Attorney Stephanie Hinds in a statement. “Ross Laverty not only injured the victims, he put mail carriers and handlers and numerous others at risk of serious injury and death.”
Hinds said, “The public must be protected from such reckless, violent crimes.” A jury convicted Laverty on Oct. 14, 2020, of mailing explosives twice with the intention of killing or injuring the targets, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said at the trial that an expert testified that the explosives were victim-activated devices that were supposed to go off when the victim opened the package. According to prosecutors, the devices were designed to shoot “off like a projectile” similar to a “bullet would out of gun.”
Laverty sent the first package to take revenge on a corrections officer for strip-searching Laverty when he was in the San Mateo county jail in 2014, prosecutors said citing trial evidence. The second package Laverty sent was to the home of an Alameda police officer who conducted a probation search of Laverty’s home in 2013, that resulted in Laverty’s arrest, prosecutors said citing evidence.
But the first package ended up at the home of an East Palo Alto man who was a grocery store clerk at Whole Foods Market, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said the victim opened the package on Oct. 19, 2017, in his backyard. It exploded, blowing a hole in the fence, prosecutors said.
The wife of the Alameda police officer opened the package addressed to her husband on Nov. 24, 2017, according to prosecutors. She saw wires inside and threw it, prosecutors said, and it exploded.
The return addresses on both packages were jewelry stores, according to prosecutors. “This desperate and shocking attack on our partners in law enforcement did real harm to customers of the U.S. Postal Service,” said Acting Inspector-in-Charge Kevin Rho of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, San Francisco Division.
“Today’s sentence demonstrates our unity of purpose in protecting the public from dangerous items in the mail.” Attorneys for Laverty declined to comment for this story.
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