The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has arrested a suburban Chicago man in the September 15 bombing of the Salt Lake City Main Library. Although no one was injured in the third-floor explosion, which blew out a plate-glass window and destroyed a nearby chair, the afternoon incident triggered the evacuation of some 400 patrons and staff.
Thomas James Zajac, 53, a former resident of Utah, was taken into custody October 27 at his Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, home. He was charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device, according to the October 30 Salt Lake Tribune. As of November 3, Zajac was awaiting extradition to Utah.
Although no other charges have been filed, authorities are investigating similarities between an anonymous letter left at the library on the day of the bombing and a bomb threat sent to Hinsdale, Illinois, police October 17, some six weeks after a pipe bomb exploded in a trash container at the Hinsdale commuter train station. “The threatening letter we received is similar to a letter the police received in Salt Lake City,” Hinsdale Police Chief Bradley Bloom said in a November 1 report aired by CBS affiliate WBBM radio. He also said that the explosive devices used in Salt Lake City and Hinsdale were constructed similarly, utilizing a hobby store–style rocket igniter and a timer.
Zajac became a suspect after authorities matched fingerprints taken from remnants of the rocket igniter found at the library to police records, where his fingerprints were on file because of previous arrests in Illinois and Ohio.