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Salt Lake man charged with terrorism threat based on marathon email

Published: Wednesday, April 24 2013 11:51 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who prosecutors say asked Salt Lake City Marathon organizers if he could help set up bombs at the finish line now faces a criminal charge.

George Hodgson Zinn, 59, told investigators "he didn't mean anything" by sending an email to the marketing director of the marathon asking, “I was wondering if you needed anybody to help place bombs near the finish line on Saturday???," according to court documents. But Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said given the level of concern around the country following the bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured 170 earlier that week, all allegations are taken seriously.

"There are just things you cannot engage in," he said.

Zinn was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with threat of terrorism, a second degree felony.

Zinn is a political gadfly in Utah. He was been arrested and charged numerous times over the past 20 years in Utah with misdemeanor crimes, mainly trespassing. He was charged in three separate cases alone in April in justice courts for that crime.

Gill acknowledged that Zinn is well-known to law enforcement. Though he declined Wednesday to specifically talk about Zinn's case or whether Zinn actually had explosive devices or intended to obtain explosive devices, he said the allegations had to be taken seriously and the situation would be handled appropriately.

The Salt Lake City Marathon was held Saturday. Law enforcers reported it was one of the smoothest running events they've had in a long time.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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