The Bishop

The Bishop

The Bishop is an American who was arrested and charged with sending several threatening letters and bomb-like devices to financial firms in the Midwestern United States.cite news | url= | title= Machinist charged in 'Bishop' bomb threats | publisher=CNN | date=2007-04-25 | accessdate=2007-04-25] . The man who is suspected of being the bishop is John Tomkins. He is a lifelong resident of Dubuque, Iowa. At the time of his arrest, he resided in western Dubuque at a Grant Street address [ KCRG Channel 9. Retrieved April 25, 2007] .



Beginning in 2005, [,CST-NWS-bomber10.article Is bomb from 'Bishop'?] , Chicago Sun-Times", February 10, 2007] threatening letters were sent to various financial institutions, demanding that certain stock prices be raised to $6.66 (the Biblical "Number of the Beast"). The letters were signed by "The Bishop". The return addresses on the letters were from various cities in the Midwest. The sender set deadlines for the stock prices to be changed, and threatened to take action if the deadlines were not met. The companies the letters were sent to had no way of manipulating stock prices, and the deadlines passed with no action from the firms "The Bishop" contacted.


In January 2007, The Bishop mailed two pipe bombs; one to American Century Investments in Kansas City, and the other to Janus Capital Group Inc. in Denver which was in turn accidentally forwarded to a subsidiary investment firm located in the downtown Chicago [ "The Bishop" Targets Financial Houses] , CBS, February 8, 2007] area known as The Loop. The bombs had vital parts missing, and are believed to have been meant as warnings. A typed letter accompanied each device, suggesting that if certain demands were not met more letter bombs would follow.


Security analysts who have examined "The Bishop"'s modus operandi speculate that he may be emulating the 1972 Charles Bronson movie "The Mechanic" [,CST-NWS-bishop27.article Is bomber a movie buff?] , Chicago Sun-Times, February 27, 2007] . In the movie, Bronson portrays an assassin named "Arthur Bishop", who uses bombs to kill others. Bronson also leaves a note for an intended victim saying "Bang, you're dead" -- the same text was found in notes sent by "The Bishop" in his suspicious packages.


On April 25, 2007, U.S. law enforcement agencies in Dubuque, Iowa, arrested a man they believe to be "The Bishop." [ Arrest in U.S. 'Bishop' bomb-threat case] , Reuters", April 25, 2007] Authorities have identified the suspect as 42-year-old former postal worker John Patrick Tomkins. Tomkins has been described as a machinist who is married. This does not fit the original criminal profile compiled by the FBI.

According to sources, analyzing and following stock trading records led U.S. Postal Service investigators to Tomkins. Also, it is reported that a photograph included in an October 25, 2005 threat letter showed the window of the vehicle from which the photograph was taken. The vehicle was identified as a four-door Chevrolet Lumina. Authorities observed Tomkins driving a red 1993 Chevrolet Lumina. The interior of the vehicle appears to match the vehicle shown in the photograph.

After authorities surveilled the suspect for a lengthy period and built their case, search and arrest warrants were executed. Because of the nature of The Bishop's alleged crimes -- sending IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) through the mail -- the possibility that he could detonate an IED while being arrested was a major safety concern.

After the arrest warrant was served, authorities in Dubuque evacuated part of an apartment complex when a bomb-sniffing dog stopped at a storage locker connected to the suspect. The apartment complex is located about a mile from the suspect's residence on the west side of town.

A KWWL news story says friends and family expressed great surprise at the arrest. The same story indicates Tomkins was very active in the local Eagles' lodge [ Retrieved April 25, 2007]


The mailings are said to have occurred in Des Moines, Iowa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois regions. The government chose the Northern District of Illinois as the venue for prosecution [ FBI press release (retrieved May 6, 2007)] . None of the offenses are alleged to have occurred in Dubuque, which is in the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. Des Moines is in the territory of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.


On September 18, 2007, a special federal grand jury returned a fifteen count indictment. He is charged with ten counts of securities fraud, two counts of mailing threatening letters to further a scheme of extortion, two counts of possessing an unregistered explosive device, a finally, one count of using an explosive device in the commission of a crime. [Associated Press, "Pipe Bomb Suspect Indicted", Dubuque "Telegraph Herald", September 20, 2007, p.1]


External links

* [ Indictment (17 page *.pdf document)]
* [ Federal complaint (*.pdf)] (retrieved May 6, 2007)
* [ US Attorney's press release (*.pdf)] (retrieved May 6, 2007)
* [ Detailed report on The Bishop's actions]
* [ FBI press release] (retrieved May 6, 2007)

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