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Man arrested in connection to explosives found in Texas town


The U.S. Attorney has announced the arrest of a 40-year-old Beaumont man investigators say evidence has linked to the explosive devices at a Starbucks and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

Officers arrested Jonathan Matthew Torres at his home Thursday in the 4400 block of El Paso near Fillmore in north Beaumont. The mugshot in this story is from a 2015 arrest on drug charges.

Investigators say inside the residence, they recovered multiple containers of the same type of explosive material used in both previously discussed devices; postal boxes similar to the boxes used in the previously discussed devices; a receipt for the purchase of the type of string used in the device found at Starbucks; zip-ties similar to the type used in the device found at Starbucks; packing tape similar to the type used in the device found at Starbucks; and other components consistent with the devices.

According to a criminal complaint we've linked to this story, a mousetrap was used as a triggering mechanism for the devices and they contained nails and screws.

An ATF agent whose name is listed on the criminal complaint says the device discovered April 26 at Starbucks contained a note with peel and stick letters on an index card stating "HAJI DIE USA - JH".

On April 27, the day after the device was discovered and disabled, Beaumont Police received a suspicious note similar to the note left in the package at Starbucks, stating "DO YOU WANT BEAUMONT TO BECOME ANOTHER AUSTIN", and it was signed "J HANCOCK."

On May 11, the day after the explosive device detonated at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Beaumont, BPD received another postcard that appeared to be from the same sender. It contained an image by DC Comics of a "V for Vendetta" and stated "WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME? JH".

On May 14, BPD received another postcard with an image of the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" that stated "There were two others Did you not get them? JH".

On May 17, BPD received a postcard that was written in green ink. It contained an image by DC Comics of "The Atom" and stated "None of these have been deemed a credible threat' JH". According to BPD, this quote is a direct quote taken from a press release BPD issued after the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church incident. The ATF agent says that postcard and one received May 11 have the same printed manufacturer's language identifying the postcards as being from the same set of DC postcards.

Investigators say they identified Torres as a suspect and obtained postcards known to have been mailed by him. They say the postcards had images of cartoons and four of them had the same type of stamp as the postcard mailed to BPD.

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