‘Do You Want Beaumont to Become Another Austin' Bombing Suspect Wrote: Investigators

A series of notes found with explosive devices led to the arrest of a Beaumont man accused of placing the devices, one of which exploded at a southeast Texas church.

Authorities announced the arrest of 40-year-old Jonathan Matthew Torres in connection to several devices found around the city since April.

Federal investigators found postcards next to the devices that contained notes from the alleged bomb maker.

A device left outside a Beaumont Starbucks had a note on an index card stating "HAJI DIE USA -JH"

The day after the Starbucks device was discovered, police said they received a note that read "DO YOU WANT BMT (Beaumont) TO BECOME ANOTHER AUSTIN" referencing the series of explosions in Austin that killed two people.

Earlier this month, a device exploded at the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Beaumont. Investigators said the remnants were similar to the device that was not exploded at the Starbucks in April. 

The day following the church blast, police said they received a postcard appearing to be from the same sender as the previous note. The postcard had an image of "V for Vendetta" from DC Comics and writing said, "WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME? JH."

The police department would receive two more postcards over the next week, one with an image from the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and the other from "The Atom." The postcards asked police, "There were two others. Did you not get them?" and "None of these have been deemed a credible threat."

Investigators said the last postcard was a direct quote from a Beaumont Police Department press release issued after the church blast. Most of the postcards were signed John Hancock or JH.

Local, state and federal investigators believe the signature on the cards relates to Torres' former roommate. In November 2016, Torres reported to police the theft of four firearms, he believed was committed by his roommate, John Hancock.

Thursday, federal agents and local police searched Torres' home and discovered explosive material and boxes similar to those used in the devices found in Beaumont.

During the search, investigators found string, zip-ties, packing tape and other components that matched one of the devices.

If convicted, Torres could face 5-20 years in prison.

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