FBI Investigation Into Resident was Goal of Shorewood Bomb Threat Suspect

Thomas Yela, 50, was charged Friday with one count of creating a bomb scare, after he called police and an intervention center Monday, and threatened to blow up Shorewood's River Park apartments and the Locust Street bridge.

A 50-year-old Milwaukee man is facing charges after he and a bridge in Milwaukee in order to try and get the FBI to investigate a woman he was upset with.

Thomas M. Yela was charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Friday with one count of creating a bomb scare. If convicted, he faces up to 3 ½ years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint:

On Monday, Yela anonymously called the Shorewood Police Department and said he planned to blow up the , 1700 E. River Park Court.

Yela told police he planned to blow up the apartment building using:

  • 700 pounds of ammonium nitrate;
  • five drums of used garbage oil;
  • mercury;
  • and shotgun shells

While investigating the threat, officers were contacted by an employee with the Open Gate Project, who said a man named Tom had called and said he was upset with a woman living in the apartments and wanted to kill her. He told the employee he strapped bombs to two of the apartment buildings and it would be up to police to figure out which ones.

The employee gave police the number the man called from, which they traced back to Yela, who had filed a theft complaint with the department Aug. 14. Officers also discovered Yela’s mother used to live at the apartment complex and there is a restraining order against him entering the property.

Another employee with the Open Gate Project contacted police saying Yela had called her and said a woman living in the apartment complex is “the most corrupt person” and they had 24 hours to get the FBI involved. He also said he was going to blow up the Locust Street bridge just because he felt like it. Shorewood police say Yela also threatened to blow up the Shorewood courthouse, which is located in Village Hall.

Officers contacted the woman Yela had complained about and they also evacuated the apartment complex and were unable to find any bombs. They were soon contacted by the Milwaukee Police Department, who was also getting 911 calls from Yela saying he was going to buildings near Oakland Avenue and Edgewood Avenue.

Officers eventually found Yela in the 3500 block of North Oakland where he was arrested.

Yela said he had to make the threats otherwise no one would listen to him about how he was upset with how the woman was treating his friend Bob, so he parked in front of the apartment buildings and called police. He said he called 911 because Shorewood police wouldn’t do anything, so he wanted to get the proper agency and the FBI involved so they would end up investigating the woman who lived in the building.

Yela denied having the materials to make a bomb, but said he’s a chemist who could make a bomb but never would. He also said he drank four beers before deciding to call in the threats.

Yela is currently being held in Milwaukee County Jail. 


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