FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — A northwest Minnesota man who planned to start a “second American Revolution” will spend five years in prison for storing a cache of pipe bombs at his hunting property.
Federal Judge John Tunheim handed down the 60-month sentence to Eric James Reinbold, 42, of Oklee, Minn., Friday morning in Fergus Falls. In July, a jury found Reinbold guilty of possessing unregistered destructive devices after a three-day trial.
“Those engaged in building illegal improvised explosive devices are a threat to the community, therefore, this sentence is well deserved,” Kurt Thielhorn, special agent with the St. Paul Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a statement.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota filed a complaint against Reinbold in late January after law enforcement said they found pipe bombs in a plastic container that was “partially concealed in a pile by concrete debris” during an October search at the defendant’s hunting property near Oklee. They also found a 32-page notebook on Reinbold’s desk titled “How one person can make a difference: Instruction booklet at the HCU (homemade commando university),” according to court documents. The book, which had Reinbold’s name on it, had one objective: “to start the second American Revolution and win.”
“Media will label you a serial killer, but real folk will call you a hero,” the notebook said. “Make them disappear one by one.”
The notes detailed wilderness survival strategies, had instructions on how to build bombs and identified enemies — the police, IRS, “Women’s Rights Headquarters,” “The Rich” and teacher conventions.
Federal prosecutors recommended Reinbold serve 87 months in prison, citing the seriousness of the offense and his criminal history. He pleaded guilty in 2016 to charges that said he repeatedly rammed his pickup into a car occupied by his wife and children in June 2015. The incident in Thief River Falls sparked a 12-hour standoff as officers tried to coax Reinbold, who said he had a weapon, from some woods where he was hiding.
“(Reinbold) systematically set about creating bomb after bomb with unnerving attention to detail and destructive capability,” the prosecution said in court filings. “This was no mere passing interest to make one rudimentary bomb.”
The prosecution also listed what it called Reinbold’s “violent beliefs,” citing writings from his notebook that said “why cops are garbage,” encouraged the gunning down of teachers and listed “weaponry that included a gun, knife and ‘rape,’” according to court filings.
“(Reinbold’s) writings in the notebook are disturbing and violent,” the prosecution said. “Given (the) defendant’s willingness to follow through with building bombs detailed in the notebook, there is every reason to believe he would similarly follow through some day in acting out against his list of targets.”
The defense said in court filings Reinbold should serve no additional jail time, arguing his incarceration as the case proceeded has caused financial hardship for his family, his criminal history only includes domestic incidents and that he has accepted responsibility for the crime.
“Any claim that (Reinbold) is accepting responsibility in this statement is laughable,” the prosecution said, adding he made an effort to conceal the bombs.