Hinsdale train station bomber gets 20 years

The man convicted of detonating a pipe bomb at the Hinsdale train station more than 17 years ago was sentenced last week to 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Thomas Zajac, formerly of Oakbrook Terrace, placed the bomb in a trash can at station the morning of Sept. 1, 2006. The device exploded during the morning commute, injuring a station agent.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly imposed the sentence on Friday during a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

He ordered that the sentence be served after the completion of the federal sentence Zajac is currently serving for bombing a public library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the Hinsdale case, Zajac was convicted last year in federal court of attempting to damage property with an explosive, possessing an unregistered destructive device and willfully making a threat through the mail to kill or injure a person with an explosive.

The U.S. Attorney’s office, in a press release, reported that evidence at the trial revealed that Zajac felt disrespected when a family member was arrested by Hinsdale police in the year before the bombing. About a month after the bombing, Zajac sent an anonymous letter to the police department stating that the police had “(expletive) with” the wrong person and that the writer had “fired a warning shot” with the bombing.

The letter indicated that police actions would “likely eventually lead to the death” of at least one person in Hinsdale, and that the writer wanted to see whether the department was “bright enough or possess(ed) the character to stop this death.”

Hinsdale police were commended for their assistance with the investigation.