DENVER – Troy A. Eid, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, William D. Newell, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Richard C. Powers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver Office (FBI), and Bill Gardner, Grand Junction Police Chief, announced that ROBERT L. BURKE, age 55, of Grand Junction, Colorado, was sentenced this morning by US District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to serve 120 months (10 years) in federal prison for use of explosive devices (bombs) in and around Grand Junction, Colorado in March of 2006. After BURKE serves his 10 year prison sentence, Judge Blackburn ordered him to serve 3 years of Supervised Release, of which the first 6 months is to be spent in a halfway house. BURKE was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $11,865 to his former employer, Serco. No other victims filed claims for restitution with the Court. BURKE, who is in custody, was remanded to begin serving his federal prison sentence immediately.
On May 1, 2006, BURKE was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver for use of a explosive devices. On October 13, 2006, BURKE pled guilty to the use of explosive devices.
According to the facts contained in the plea agreement, on March 24, 2006, five explosive devices were found at homes of employees of the FAA and Serco (an FAA contractor providing air traffic services at Walker Field in Grand Junction) in Mesa County, Colorado. All the devices were similar in construction. Three of the five explosive devices exploded causing property damage. An unexploded device of similar construction was found on the roof of Serco headquarters in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on February 1, 2006, and another device of similar construction was detonated on the porch of a private residence in Derby, Kansas on February 28, 2006.
BURKE had earlier been fired from Serco, according to the plea agreement. All of the Colorado victims of the crime had provided information in connection with his termination. The Kansas device was intended for the home of a couple who BURKE was in a legal dispute with over the sale of a motor vehicle, although it was accidently placed at the home of a neighbor.
As part of the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the District of Kansas and the Middle District of Tennessee agreed not to file additional charges as long as the defendant agrees to pled guilty and was sentenced in Colorado.
“The kind of teamwork and quick action exhibited by all agencies involved is indicative of what criminals can expect from local, state and federal law enforcement teams in the future,” said Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner.
“Grand Junction is a safer place with Robert Burke behind bars,” said United States Attorney Troy Eid. “The defendant will be incarcerated for a decade thanks to the hard work and tremendous cooperation of local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities. In this case, the initial response and subsequent investigative work of the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is a textbook example of how an investigation should be conducted.”
“This case is an excellent example of how the close working relationship of the investigative agencies results in a successful prosecution,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge William D. Newell. “I especially want to compliment the Grand Junction Police Department for their outstanding investigative efforts.”
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and the Grand Junction Fire Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Wyatt Angelo and Philip Brimmer.