Wrigleyville Fake Bomber Pleads Guilty

Sami Samir Hassoun, 24, could get as much as 30 years in prison for the attempt

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A man accused of attempting to plant an explosive device in a Wrigleyville trash can in 2008 pleaded guilty, Monday, to federal charges. Sami Samir Hassoun, 24, could get as much as 30 years in prison for the attempt

    A man accused of attempting to plant an explosive device in a Wrigleyville trash can in 2008 pleaded guilty, Monday, to federal charges.

    Sami Samir Hassoun, 24, could get as much as 30 years in prison for the attempt.  

    Hassoun, a medical student, placed a backpack containing what he thought was an explosive device into a Wrigleyville trash can, federal authorities said on Sept. 20, 2008. The device was not a real explosive and had been given to Hassoun by federal investigators.

    In the year leading up to the event, Hassoun, who neighbors say moved to Chicago with his family five to six years ago, became increasingly unhappy with how the city was being managed.  According to the criminal complaint, Hassoun said on occassion that he wanted to spark a "revolution" in Chicago and "kill the nightlife."

    "He claimed that he was trying to force enough embarrassment on the city of Chicago to cause Mayor Daley to resign," said the FBI's Ross Rice after the arrest.

    "I will f*** Chicago.  I will shake Chicago," the criminal complaint quotes Hassoun as saying.

    Hassoun, who is a permanent resident alien, in June 2008 began expressing to an "associate" the desire to commit acts of violence in the city for financial gain and to cause "political transformation in Chicago."

    Those acts included a biological attack on the city, poisoning Lake Michigan, bombing the Willis Tower, assassinating former Mayor Richard Daley and attacking police officers.

    Two months  before the incident, Hassoun's associate introduced him to an undercover agent who said he was from California and had access to explosives.  Authories say Hassoun asked for ammonium nitrate, electric blasting caps, remote electic timers, shock tube detonators and dynamite sticks.

    Hassoun originally planned to carry out his attack on Sept. 11, 2008 but settled on the 18th and the Wrigleyville neighborhood -- the night of a Dave Matthews Band concert -- in order to inflict maximum damage. 

    On the night of the planned attack, Hassoun met with the agent, at which time Hassoun was given a backpack containing what he thought was a high-powered explosive device.  The agent showed Hassoun the bomb's components and instructed him on how it worked, the release stated.  Although the "bomb" was intended to look real, it was made of inert materials and unable to explode.

    Hassoun was then watched by agents as he placed the fake explosive into a trash container near Eddy and Clark Streets -- about a block south of Wrigley Field. He was then arrested and the fake device was recovered.

    The FBI said "that at no time was the public in danger during this investigation" and "there was no indication that any foreign or domestic terror groups were in any way connected to this plot.   

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