Tuesday, July 26, 2016
PITTSBURGH – Federal charges were filed this afternoon in connection with the intentional destruction of a security gate at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Pittsburgh Division headquarters, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The criminal complaint charges Thomas Ross, 48, with Damaging Government Property and Causing Damage to Buildings or Property within the Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States.
According to the complaint, on July 26, 2016, an officer with the traffic division of the Pittsburgh Police observed a very large dump truck vehicle driving on Carson Street in the Southside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. According to the officer the dump truck vehicle was driving erratically and unsafely, and, in fact, drove past the officer, who was sitting at a red light, at a high rate of speed before proceeding to run through several more red lights. The dump truck vehicle proceeded to Sidney Street into the parking lot of a Giant Eagle GetGo gas station, before being stopped by the officer. Upon approaching the dump truck vehicle, the traffic officer encountered an individual later identified as Thomas Ross, who was the driver of the vehicle. The officer ordered Ross out of the vehicle, but Ross refused to get out. On the third command, Ross stated to the officer that he had a bomb and that he had to see the FBI (which was across the street at that point). At that point, Ross put the dump truck vehicle into gear, and proceeded to the front gate of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office, located at 3311 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., at a high rate of speed. The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office is the property of the United States government and exists within the Special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. The front entrance gate of the FBI Pittsburgh has a guard booth which at the time was occupied by a security officer as well as several security barriers. Ross proceeded to ram the through the security barriers at a high rate of speed, causing the dump truck vehicle to go airborne while causing extensive damage to the vehicle. Upon hitting the ground, the dump truck vehicle struck a nearby light post in the interior parking lot of the FBI Pittsburgh, causing that light post to fall. The FBI estimates that the damage caused by Ross will exceed $1,000.
A date and time for the defendant to appear in federal court in Pittsburgh has not been set.
The penalties for violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1361 - Damaging Government Property or Contracts – are tied to the extent of the property damage. If the damage exceeds $1000, the defendant is subject to a fine of up to $250,000, 10 years imprisonment, or both. The penalties for violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1363 - Causing Damage to Buildings or Property within the Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States - differ where human life is endangered or a dwelling is damaged or destroyed. When neither a dwelling nor a human life is endangered, the defendant is subject to a fine of up to $250,000, five years imprisonment, or both; otherwise the defendant may be punished by a fine of up to $250,000, 20 years imprisonment, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant may not be prosecuted unless, within 30 days, a grand jury has found probable cause to believe that he is guilty of an offense.
Assistant United States Attorney Jimmy Kitchen is prosecuting this case. Special agents of the FBI and investigators from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation that led to the complaint against this defendant.