Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Man Sentenced for Leaving Pipe Bomb at Vickery Creek Park
ATLANTA – Michael C. Sibley has been sentenced to two years in prison for creating a hoax when he left a backpack containing two inoperable pipe bombs in Vickery Creek Park in Roswell, Georgia.
“Sibley built two nearly-operable pipe bombs that he recklessly left in Vickery Creek Park in a place intended to inflict maximum panic among the public,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “He compounded the crime by preying on stereotypical fears and prejudices by making it appear the bombs were planted by a Muslim. Thankfully an alert park visitor discovered and immediately reported the bag containing the bombs to police.”
“The sentencing of Mr. Sibley to two years in federal prison should clearly illustrate to him and to others the serious nature of leaving a backpack device in a public setting for the specific purpose of creating panic and distress. The law enforcement response and the resulting federal investigation was extensive and costly to the taxpaying public,” said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Sibley placed a backpack alongside one of the trails in Vickery Creek Park. Roswell Police Department contacted FBI after a park visitor discovered the suspicious bag, which contained two pipe bombs that fortunately omitted one component and therefore were not capable of immediate detonation. Approximately 400 nails and screws were attached to the outside of the tubing consistent with construction designed for maximum fragmentation upon explosion, making the device more lethal.
On the bag containing the bombs, Sibley wrote a traditionally Muslim name on the backpack and he placed inside the bag, among other things, two books: one titled “The Rape of Kuwait” and the other titled “The Holy Qur’an.” He also placed papers printed from three websites in the bag: the 2015 Atlanta Falcons schedule, a printout from a website for a Jewish Community Center in the Atlanta area, and a printout from the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (“MARTA”) website. These printouts were included to convey threats to these locations as well.
Based on the items recovered from the backpack, the FBI narrowed its focus to Sibley. On March 20, 2015, Sibley voluntarily met with the FBI and confessed to making the devices and to placing them in Vickery Creek Park. He stated that he placed the bag with these devices, the books and other items in the park to “wake-up” people in the United States. He related that he believes the Mexican border is poorly defended and that many people are entering this country illegally. He also said that he made the explosive devices and placed them in the park to make people realize that if this can happen in Roswell, Georgia, it can happen anywhere.
Michael C. Sibley, 67, of Marietta, Georgia, was sentenced to two years in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release. Sibley was convicted on these charges on September 9, 2015, after pleading guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Tracia M.King prosecuted the case.