Suspect arrested and charged in explosive device investigation


SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WJMN) – One person has been arrested and faces individual charges related to explosive devices found in Sault Ste. Marie and Cheboygan County on Thursday of last week.

In a statement from FBI Special Agent in Charge, Timothy Waters, the FBI and Michigan State Police arrested the suspect on Monday night.

The suspect has been identified as 75-year-old John Douglas Allen of Whittemore, Michigan.

Below is information released from the Department of Justice. We have unaltered their wording.

According to the affidavit, on September 15, 2021, at approximately 7:36 pm, a United States Postal Service (USPS) box with black tape on it and a wire coming out of it was placed outside of an AT&T Store, located at 2972 W 8th Street, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Later that evening at approximately 10:10 pm, another USPS box with black tape on it and a wire coming out of it was placed outside of the Verizon Store, located at 1006 S Main Street Plaza 27, Suite 3, Cheboygan, Michigan. The two devices recovered were examined by the FBI laboratory Explosive Unit, which concluded that the two devices were improvised explosive devices (IEDs), also commonly referred to as homemade bombs or pipe bombs. Based on video footage taken from the cell phone stores and other nearby businesses, as well as an exhaustive investigation by law enforcement, agents were able to determine that Allen was the person who allegedly left the packages outside of the stores.

The affidavit further alleges that letters, placed inside polka dot envelops and sealed in zip lock bags, were left at cell towers located in the Upper Peninsula. The letters contained threats aimed at telecommunication carriers.

In each district, Allen faces charges of Extortion, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and Attempted Damage or Destruction of Buildings Used in Interstate Commerce, which is punishable by a minimum of five years and not more than 20 years in prison. Allen will be making an initial appearance this afternoon in Bay City on the complaint pending in the Eastern District
of Michigan. A date has not yet been set for his appearance in the Western District of Michigan to answer those charges.

The charges in a complaint are merely allegations. A defendant remains innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The investigation is continuing.

According to Special Agent in Charge Waters, the investigation used the collaborative efforts of special agents, intelligence analysts, troopers, deputies, and officers from the FBI, Michigan State Police, Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Office, Cheyboygan Police Department, Sault Ste. Marie Police Department, Sault Ste. Marie tribal Police, The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, and the ATF.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit tips to

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