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Perpetrator of UCSD bomb hoax sentenced

Richard Sills, 55, of La Jolla, will serve 15 months in federal custody in connection with a bomb threat he made at UCSD, announced U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns sentenced Sills, who, according to court records, admitted that on or about Dec. 5, 2007, he made a series of threatening phone calls and sent one letter to the the university warning that bombs had been placed in six campus buildings. Sills admitted that the threats were designed to interfere with the activities of UCSD’s animal research facilities.

Burns also ordered that Sills serve a three-year term of supervised release following completion of his prison term and pay $10,419.01 in restitution to UCSD and Li-COR Biosciences, Inc. for the economic damage caused by the bomb scare.

Sills entered his guilty plea on March 11, 2008.

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After Sills made the threats, UCSD employees discovered a fake improvised explosive device in the Leichtag Building, a campus research facility where scientists conduct animal testing. Sills admitted responsibility for the hoax device.

Agencies participating in the case included the Federal Bureau of Investigation,San Diego Police Department, UCSD Police Department, Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).