Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

A sketch of the Unabomber

Real Name: Unrevealed at the time of the broadcast
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Terrorism, Serial-Bombings, Murder, Attempted Murder
Missing Since: February 20, 1987


Details: The FBI is looking for a serial bomber known as the "Unabomber" responsible for several bombings throughout the United States. On May 25, 1978, an office worker watched a man in a grey hooded sweat shirt set down a package wrapped in a brown paper bag on the campus of the University of Illinois and then depart. A security guard investigating the package was injured when it exploded. A year later, another package exploded on May 9, 1979 at the same university. Within the next year, two more bombs were placed or mailed from the Chicago area, all made by the same individual. This led investigators to believe that he lived in the area.
In 1981, it is believed that the bomber moved to Utah. The next two bombs originated from Salt Lake City and Provo. In 1982, he placed a device disguised as a student's physics project at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1985, he planted four bombs; he mailed one from Oakland to Boeing's headquarters in Seattle.
On May 15, he placed a bomb, disguised as a binder attached to a checkbox, in a computer lab at the University of California, Berkeley. The bomb sat in the lab for three days until it captured the attention of Air Force captain John Hauser. When he tried to open it, the bomb exploded, ripping off the fingers on his hand and severing two major arteries. Despite his injuries, he survived.

Hugh Scrutton

In November, he mailed a bomb from Salt Lake City to the University of Michigan. Finally, in December, the bomber killed his first victim, Hugh Scrutton, a Sacramento computer rental store owner. He died in a violent explosion in the parking lot behind his store. The bomber planted the device, hidden in a brown paper bag, at 10:30am. At 12pm, Hugh went out for lunch and discovered the bag. As he picked it up, it exploded, making a hole in his chest. Sadly, he died soon after.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, on the morning of February 20, 1987, the man planted another homemade bomb in the parking lot of a computer store. He disguised the bomb as a prankster's device to blow out car tires. Witnesses got their first look at the bomber: a white male with reddish blond hair in his late twenties. That morning, Gary Wright, the owner of the store, arrived at work and discovered the device. As he picked it up, it exploded in his hand. Fortunately, he survived.
Each of the bombs were created from simple hardware store items, such as batteries, strings, glue, fishing line, discarded pieces of lamps, pipes, recycled screws and match heads. The bomber was extremely careful not to use parts or numbers that could be traced to him. He also made the bombs look non-threatening, so that no one would notice the danger until it was too late. In some cases, he even mailed the bombs inside of books.
The FBI began calling him the Unabomber because he liked targeting universities and airlines. The FBI opened a special bomb hotline to take in and investigate hundred of tips. Their profile for the Unabomber suggested a white, middle-aged loner. Based on the way the bombs were constructed, it is apparent that the bomber had specialized knowledge of soldering and metalwork. He also had access to a drill press and soldering equipment.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on Special #3 before the Unabomber gained nation-wide notoriety. It was also profiled on America's Most Wanted and documented on The FBI Files among several other series. More recently, the series Manhunt: Unabomber was created about him.
After Kaczynski's capture, a segment was featured that tried to link the suspect to the Zodiac Killer.

Ted Kaczynski

Results: Captured. This figure remained elusive for seventeen years when after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, he tried to gain nationwide attention again by sending a deadly package to the president of the California Forestry Association in Sacramento. Although it was addressed to the former president, it was accepted by Gilbert P. Murray, who became the third fatality after Thomas J. Mosser, an advertising executive in North Caldwell, New Jersey. The Unabomber also sent a rambling message to his previous victim, David Gelernter, a computer science professor at Yale University, who lost his right hand and eye in a June 24, 1993 bombing.
In a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Unabomber threatened to bomb a plane leaving Los Angeles. The FBI took the threat very seriously, but in a letter written to both the New York Times and the Washington Post, he said he was tired of making bombs and he would stop if they published his manifesto, "Industrial Society and its Future," a 35,000 word tirade about how technology made life unfulfilling and how it inflicted damage on the world. The gamble worked and the bombings seemed to stop, but by publishing the manifesto, the FBI hoped someone would recognize the handwriting in the letters.
In January 1996, David Kaczynski noted the similarity in the writing of the Unabomber letters to that of his brother, Theodore Kaczynski. In the ensuing investigation, Federal officers staked out Ted's forlorn one-room cabin in the isolated wilderness of Montana, finally capturing Ted in April 1996. The cabin was a bomb-making factory only ten by twelve feet in area and full of ingredients for making bombs, note books and bombs in early assembly. The fifty-four-year-old Kaczynski was a former professor of mathematics at about the same time of the Zodiac Killer, later becoming one of the most hunted fugitives in the Twentieth Century.
In 1998, Kaczynski pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder, and terrorism. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.