A Bayport man who had mailed letters threatening mass shootings and bombings to those affiliated with LGBTQ+ organizations and businesses was sentenced in federal court in Central Islip Wednesday, officials said.
Robert Fehring, 74, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for mailing more than 60 letters to LGBTQ-affiliated individuals, organizations and businesses. Many of those letters contained threats to kill, shoot and bomb the recipients.
Fehring had pleaded guilty to the charge in February.
“There is no room for hate in the Eastern District of New York. Today’s sentence makes clear that threats to kill and commit acts of violence against the LGBTQ+ community will be met with significant punishment,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.
“We will use the full power of our office to bring to justice those who threaten to kill or hurt people because of who they are, and to ensure everyone in our district is able to live authentically, safely and in peace,” Peace added.
Fehring sent the letters from at least 2013 to 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In the letters, Fehring threatened to use firearms, explosives and more against the recipients. Two of the letters threatened an attack on an LGBTQ+ event in Huntington that would be similar to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, according to officials.
Another letter threatened that radio-controlled explosives would be planted at a beach club in Long Beach that had hosted a LGBTQ+ event, officials said. In another letter sent in June 2018, Fehring threatened the operators of a water ferry service from Sayville to Fire Island, warning that they should “screen everyone coming on board with a metal detector” and that “a thorough search of your boats would be in order.”
A letter to the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan read, “we will blow up/burn your establishments down. We will shoot those who frequent your dens of [expletives].”
And a letter to an African American-owned barbershop affiliated with the LGTBQ+ community in Brooklyn claimed to be from “People Who Hate Gays … and In Particular [n-word] Gays” declared “your shop is the perfect place for a bombing … or beating the scum that frequents your den of [expletive] into a bloody pool of steaming flesh.”
The FBI Civil Rights Squad and New York Joint Terrorism Task Force executed a search warrant in November at Fehring’s home in Bayport. There, they recovered copies of threatening letters, supplies used to mail threatening letters, 20 LGBTQ+ Pride flags that were stolen from flagpoles in Sayville in July 2021, and reconnaissance-style photographs from the Eisenhower Park Pride event, officials said.
During the search, the FBI recovered electronic devices owned by Fehring that contained internet searches for his victims and related LGBTQ+ affiliated events and businesses. Law enforcement officers also recovered two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ+ affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird, officials said.
At the sentencing hearing, six victims addressed the court and described the fear that Fehring’s threats instilled in them.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.