Incident Summary:

09/06/1985: A bomb exploded at the home of Elmars Sprogis in Brentwood, New York, United States, a residential community in Suffolk County, about 40 miles east of Manhattan. Sprogis, and American citizen, was a former police chief in Nazi-occupied Latvia during World War II, and had been previously been accused of war crimes, but in deportation proceedings, all charges against him were dismissed. At the time of the incident, it is suspected that a fire was set at Sprogis' home in order to have him evacuate the home via the front door, where an explosive was planted on his front steps. Sprogis' neighbor Robert Seifried, saw the fire, and went to alert Sprogis, but inadvertently set off the bomb (meant for Sprogis), resulting in serious burns to his Seifried's right foot, leg and shoulder. Damage to the home included shattered windows, destroyed aluminum siding, and other minor damage. After the incident, two calls were made to Newsday newspaper from an unknown male, stating "Listen carefully, Jewish Defense League, Nazi war criminal. Bomb. Never again." Though the JDL denied involvement in the incident, authorities believe the group was responsible.

GTD ID:
198509060007

When:
1985-09-06

Country:
United States

Region:
North America

Province/administrative
region/u.s. state:

New York

City:
Brentwood

Location Details:
at residence at 240 Second Avenue in Brentwood, Long Island

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Police
Name of Entity Elmars Sprogis, a former police chief in Nazi-occupied Latvia accused of Nazi war crimes
Specific Description Elmars Sprogis, a former police chief in Nazi-occupied Latvia accused of Nazi war crimes
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Arson/Fire
Explosives/Bombs/Dynamite Unknown Explosive Type
Weapon Details
fire to Sprogis' home and bomb, planted and exploded on the front steps of the home
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information The incident occurred at about 4:30am, and the calls to Newsday were received at approximately 4:55am and 5:05am. Even though the callers claimed responsibility in the name of the JDL, leaders of the group denied the group's responsibility or involvement in the fire and explosion. Sprogis, and American citizen, was not injured in the incident, and was never convicted of the alleged war crimes; charges against him were dismissed due to lack of evidence. Members of the JDL and other militant Jewish organizations were critical of the decision.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Jewish Defense League (JDL) (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Call (post-incident))
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators Unknown
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 1 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 1
Number of U.S. Injured 1
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Sources
"FBI Analysis of Terrorist Incidents and Terrorist Related Activities in the United States: 1985," Terrorist Research and Analytical Center, Terrorism Section, Criminal Investigative Division, FBI, 1985.
Robert D. McFadden, "Blast at Home of Ex-War Crimes Suspect Injures One; Bystander Hurt by Blast at Home Of a Onetime War Crimes Suspect ," New York Times, September 7, 1985.
"Police Suspect Link In Blasts At Homes Of Men Tied to War Crimes," The Associated Press, September 7, 1985.