A 54-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the three fake pipe bombs placed outside Buffalo Police Department stations and a nearby post office.
James Timpanaro, of South Buffalo, has been accused of the “unconscionable” copycat act, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. said in a Friday press conference. The fake bombs were placed soon after explosive devices were mailed to prominent figures and CNN offices.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District court on Friday, Timpanaro is accused of “knowingly engaging in conduct with the intent to convey false or misleading information under circumstances where such information may reasonably be believed” that there was an explosive device inside of the packages.
Two apparent explosive devices were recovered by the door of the Buffalo Police Department station at 1847 South Park Ave. in Buffalo on Oct. 26.
The devices “had all the features of a homemade bomb, with protruding wires wrapped around a pipe-like instrument,” the complaint states.
They were secured by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office’s ATF and the FBI’s bomb squad, but were determined to not be a hazard.
Another device was discovered the next day at the post office on South Park Avenue.
A Buffalo Police surveillance camera caught a person believed to be Timpanaro tossing an object resembling the devices toward the front door around 3:30 a.m. Oct. 26, and then walking south on South Park Avenue toward Richfield Avenue while wearing a camouflage jacket.
On Thursday, the Buffalo Police Department detective showed the surveillance video to a South Buffalo Food Pantry volunteer, who recognized the suspect’s walk and mannerisms and identified the suspect as one of their neighbors at a past residence on Richfield Avenue.
The witness also identified the suspect’s address for police and identified a photo of Timpanaro from the Buffalo Police database.
Another witness who lives in the neighborhood was also shown the surveillance videos and identified the individual in the videos as Timpanaro. The second witness also stated that Timpanaro often wears a camouflage jacket like the one seen in the surveillance footage. The witness also shared footage from a home surveillance camera on the night that the individual was seen leaving the devices. The surveillance footage showed the individual walking past the witness’ residence about five minutes after the package was left.
Timpanaro’s address is about five minutes’ walking distance from the South Park Buffalo Police Department.
The same witness’s surveillance camera and a 7-Eleven security camera on South Park Avenue also recorded video of an individual believed to be Timpanaro walking north on South Park Avenue in the early morning hours of Oct. 27, toward Richfield Avenue.
According to the complaint, Timpanaro is said to have a history and reputation for vandalizing properties and being very politically outspoken and motivated.
He was also arrested for aggravated harassment in March 2017, accused of mailing threatening material to another person through the U.S. Postal Service. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in prison.
Kennedy did not release a motive, but said that it’s believed that Timpanaro acted alone.