Unabomber News History

Copyright 1994 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald

December 16, 1994 Friday FIRST EDITION


LENGTH: 428 words

HEADLINE: Hub student is accused of making bomb threats



Authorities charged a 42-year-old part-time Northeastern University student yesterday with making anti-Semitic bomb threats targeting Northeastern and Harvard universities and the president of a Belmont bank.

Stephen Womack was arraigned in Cambridge District Court on charges of receiving stolen property and malicious destruction of hundreds of books from the college libraries, in addition to the six counts of extortion by threat of physical harm.

As the bushy-haired Womack calmly chatted with a court officer, a plea of not guilty was entered for him. He was held without bail until a hearing on Tuesday.

The former clerk at Harvard's landmark Widener Library began a campaign of terror-by-mail earlier this year, said Anthony Gemma, the Middlesex County assistant district handling the case.

In the first letter, mailed to Northeastern's Burlington campus library in June, Womack allegedly demanded $ 50,000 to keep him from sending a bomb filled with "iron shrapnel to inflict the most maximum harm possible."

Womack demanded sums ranging from $ 50,000 to $ 500,000 to $ 1 million in letters that ordered the universities to fire all their Jewish employees or face a holocaust he planned to unleash, Gemma said.

He allegedly sent three other type-written letters to the Burlington campus, which put university police on edge given the renewed activity of the UNABOMBER, a terrorist who has targeted academics since 1978 with letter bombs.

"We've been working closely with the FBI ever since we received the first threat last spring," said D. Joseph Griffin, Northeastern's director of security, where investigators broke the case after questioning Womack for book theft.

Authorities also charged him with extortion for a threatening note scribbled on a piece of paper towel and left for Widener library employees in 1990, the year Womack worked there as a clerk, Gemma said.

On Oct. 7 he sent a letter to his bank, Belmont Savings Bank, threatening the institution's president "you or your bank will pay me $ 100,000 or you and your Jew family will be killed," Gemma said.

Womack could face federal mail fraud and civil rights charges, Gemma said. Womack, who lives with his mother, was described by neighbors as "a loner" throughout his life.

They said he was the one who discovered his father's body after the man committed suicide 20 years ago.

Neighbors never suspected trouble from the tiny house, but noted that Womack - who has a criminal record dating back to 1977 - had been arrested before for stealing books from town libraries.