Unabomber News History

Copyright 1994 The Atlanta Constitution

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

December 12, 1994


LENGTH: 677 words

HEADLINE: N.J. slaying linked to serial mail bomber FBI suspects elusive quarry sent package to ad executive



New York - Federal agents say a videocassette-sized package bomb that exploded and killed a top New York advertising executive this weekend appears to be the work of one of the FBI's most elusive quarries - a meticulous serial bomber responsible for one other death and 23 injuries in a string of incidents over 16 years.

Officials said laboratory analysis of fragments from the neatly wrapped package that exploded in the kitchen of a North Caldwell, N.J., home, killing Thomas J. Mosser, bore the trademarks of the mysterious bomb maker given the code name "Unabom" by the FBI.

The law enforcement code name reflects the bomber's predilection in other attacks for university professors and officials of airlines and universities.

"The components of the bomb, its construction, make us believe the bombs are linked," said Barry Mawn, the agent in charge of the FBI's Newark, N.J., field office.

Mawn said the bomb that killed Mosser, who recently was named general manager and executive vice president of Young & Rubicam Inc., a New York-based advertising agency, was "very powerful."

The package was delivered Friday to Mosser's suburban home by the U.S. Postal Service. It detonated Saturday when he opened it.

Mawn said investigators so far had found no motive and had not determined from where the package was sent.

Mosser's wife and two children and the child of a neighbor were at the home when the bomb exploded, ripping a large hole in a kitchen counter and filling the house with smoke.

Members of a special task force were trying to determine whether any of the advertising accounts for which Mosser was responsible could be linked to any of the bomber's previous targets.

Over the years, investigators have found the serial bomber to be extremely meticulous, creating some portions of his deadly weapons from handcrafted parts that would have involved hundreds of hours of painstaking work.

In some instances, the bomber - believed to be a fair-skinned man in his late 30s or 40s who once was seen with a mustache - has used elaborate ruses, including disguising a bomb as a book and as a piece of wood.

A man fitting the description was seen in Salt Lake City in 1987, kneeling alongside a bomb before it exploded.

Mosser's death is believed to be the bomber's first attack in 18 months. Charles Epstein, a geneticist at the University of California at San Francisco, was injured in an explosion on June 22, 1993. Two days later, David Gelertner, a computer scientist at Yale University, was seriously injured by a letter bomb sent to his office.

FBI investigators say the bomb maker is "one of the most secretive and elusive bombers ever encountered."

In 1993, he sent a letter to The New York Times, calling himself "FC" and promising further details. The letter was mailed from Sacramento, Calif., as were the two bombs sent that same year.

Investigators said the bombs also contained the initials "FC" and these initials could be seen even after the detonations.

Investigators have concluded that "FC" represents an obscene phrase denigrating computers, the Times reported today.

In the two weeks before the latest bomb was sent, computer giants Xerox Corp. and Digital Equipment Corp. hired Young & Rubicam.

At least three of the other victims were featured in Times articles describing them as leaders in their high-technology fields, and a story on Mosser's promotion was published Dec. 5, the newspaper reported today.

The first bombing occurred in 1978, and cases tied to the serial bomber have occurred in California, Illinois, Utah, Tennessee, Michigan, Washington state and now New Jersey.

On Dec. 11, 1985, a package exploded when Hugh Scrutton picked it up near his computer rental store in Sacramento. He became the bomber's first fatality.

The bombs have been constructed with hard-to-trace household items: nails, screws, towels, fishing line, glue, string, handmade switches, a barometer, metal, pipes, gunpowder and batteries.

The FBI is offering a $ 1 million reward for information in the bombings.