An Illinois man will serve time in a federal prison for mailing false bomb threats to four metro Atlanta schools to harass individuals he held grudges against, federal prosecutors said.
Valtrez Stewart, 29, of Oak Lawn in suburban Chicago, was sentenced Thursday to 3 years, 10 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. He appeared for a sentencing hearing in the Atlanta courtroom of U.S. District Judge Willis B. Hunt Jr.
“It is disturbing that this individual threatened children and wasted law enforcement resources as part of his retaliation scheme,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release. “ Every bomb threat is taken seriously and, as the defendant learned today, there are serious consequences whether the threat is real or a hoax.”
Stewart pleaded guilty in January to four counts of mailing threatening communications. He admitted mailing threats at least four local schools between Jan. 28 and Feb. 2, 2011.
The threats were sent to Marietta High School, Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Northview High School in Johns Creek and Stephenson Middle School in Stone Mountain.
The messages warned of bombings and killings if money was not paid to certain people -- individuals whom Stewart had grudges against, prosecutors said. Stewart hoped to implicate those people, but prosecutors said they were not involved.
“Law enforcement officials soon identified Stewart as the source of the threats when it was discovered that all the threats were mailed from Stewart’s hometown in Illinois and that Stewart was connected to all the people who were identified as the alleged senders of the letters,” prosecutors said in the news release.
“There were never any bombs, and the schools and students were never in any danger,” prosecutors said.
The case was investigated by a task force involving the FBI and the Chamblee, Marietta, Johns Creek, Gwinnett County and DeKalb County police departments, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracia M. King.
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