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Chicago man planted bomb, phoned in tip: authorities

Police say bomb was left garbage can outsie this Evanstpolice station.
| Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

Police say a bomb was left in a garbage can outsie this Evanston police station. | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 21, 2011 2:10AM

A 19-year-old Chicago man is accused of planting a nail-filled bomb outside an Evanston police station over the weekend — and then calling in a tip about the device to the police.

Sergio Chaves left the bomb in a garbage can Saturday outside the station at 633 Howard, officials said Monday.

The Cook County sheriff’s bomb squad rendered the device safe. It contained explosives from fireworks as well as 40 nails, glass shards and a .22-caliber bullet, and would have been deadly within a 40-foot radius, officials said.

“It put a lot of people at risk, including the three officers in the police station at the time,” said Tom Ahern, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Authorities believe Chaves acted alone, Ahern said.

Chaves, wearing an orange jail suit, appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason on a charge of possession of an unregistered destructive device. If convicted, Chaves could face up to 10 years in prison. He was ordered held pending a detention hearing Wednesday.

According to federal authorities, Chaves called in a tip Saturday to the Evanston Police Department saying another person was making a bomb and planned to use it in Evanston or Skokie. Chaves identified himself in the call.

Later that day, he called back to say the bomb was in a trash container outside the station, officials said.

Then early Sunday, Chaves allegedly called police to admit he had delivered the bomb to the station after getting it from another individual.

Chaves agreed to meet with police and explained he thought he had been delivering a package of marijuana, but later realized it was a bomb, officials said.

Authorities said they searched his room in the Edgewater home where he lived and found a nail similar to the ones in the bomb; part of a DVD cover similar to what had enclosed the bomb; and two .22-caliber rifles.

Chaves admitted he had wanted to “make some money” from the bomb, officials said. He allegedly said he deserved money for calling in the tip instead of blowing up the device.

Chaves was “previously known” to the Evanston police, but does not have any felony convictions, Ahern said. In December, he pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to six months of court supervision, court records show.

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