Suspect arrested in recent Beaumont bombings

BEAUMONT, Texas (KTRK) -- A 42-year-old Beaumont man is now in custody and accused of planting two explosive devices in a month's time.

Jonathan Matthew Torres was arrested at his home Thursday night by Beaumont police and federal agents.

The U.S. Attorney for the district said he doesn't believe Torres was part of any terrorist group or did it out of racial hatred. One message Torres allegedly left on a box delivered to a Beaumont Starbucks did contain a racial slur, according to the arrest affidavit.

The device was left outside the Starbucks on April 26 and did not detonate. The trigger mechanism was said to have been a mousetrap.

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Law enforcement at scene of bomb investigation

The next day, according to the affidavit, Beaumont police received a note that read: DO YOU WANT BMT TO BECOME ANOTHER AUSTIN?" It was signed, J Hancock.

On May 10, a package left outside St. Stephens Episcopal Church exploded. No people were injured but the administration building sustained damage.

"This suspect had the resources and ability to build these devices and they were increasing in their destructive impact," said U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown.

Investigators aren't revealing what broke the case and led them to Torres, but the affidavit states they linked him to the devices by materials he was shown to have purchased, all of which were used in the making of explosives.

Beaumont Police Chief Jimmy Singletary called the arrest a combination of excellent work by the FBI, ATF and postal inspectors.

"And good old-fashioned police work," he said.

Torres' background was not discussed. An agent said he did not live alone and did have some military background.

No other details were released.


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