Unabomber News History

Copyright 1995 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.

Chicago Sun-Times

July 7, 1995,FRIDAY,Late Sports Final Edition


LENGTH: 694 words

HEADLINE: Videotape May Have Caught Unabomber At Scene After Blast SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS




Sacramento police said Thursday that they videotaped a man resembling the elusive Unabomber in the crowd that gathered around the blast site where a terrorist's bomb killed timber lobbyist Gilbert Murray in April.

Police videotaped the crime scene and surrounding crowd when they arrived there and noticed that a man abruptly left when he realized he was being filmed, said Homicide Lt. Joe Enloe.

When police studied his image later, they saw that he was wearing aviator-style sunglasses that are similar to those worn by the Unabomber when he was seen in 1987--the only known sighting of the serial terrorist.

The man, who appeared to be in his 40s or early 50s, also had a mustache like the Unabomber's. He was wearing a baseball cap with an unrecognizable logo and a watch with a distinctive symbol on its face.

"This guy caught our attention because he obviously didn't want to be photographed," Enloe said. "Was he cutting work? Cheating on his wife? Is he wanted for something else? We don't know. But he left the area quickly when he knew we were looking at him."

Meanwhile, scrap metal dealers in the San Francisco area say they have been shown a grainy photograph of a man by FBI investigators, along with a blown-up close-up of a watch with an unusual face.

FBI agents have been showing possible witnesses a photograph lifted from a videotape, hoping to identify the subject of the picture in connection with the elusive Unabomber, acknowledged FBI spokesman George Grotz.

But the FBI's Grotz said agents do not believe the individual in the photograph is the Unabomber, who has killed three and wounded 23 during a 17-year reign of terror. He would not specify what connection the man in the photo might have to the case or whether the picture was taken from the Sacramento police video.

Sacramento police said they turned over at least one still print from the videotape to the FBI, but said they did not know if the FBI photo came from Sacramento.

The FBI also said Thursday it has no plans to release a new composite sketch of the Unabomber--drawn by the artist who prepared the original--that for the first time shows him without sunglasses.

The artist, a former consultant for the task force hunting the serial bomber, has distributed the sketch to federal agents and to local police departments.

FBI spokesman Grotz said investigators prefer an earlier composite sketch of the suspect with

his sunglasses on because they believe it to be "the best likeness" available.

He said the FBI sees no need to release a new sketch because the witness who spotted the Unabomber in 1987--the only known sighting of him--"is very pleased" with the drawing.

The new sketch of the Unabomber was drawn by Canadian artist Robert Exter, who drew the first based on the only sighting of him--in a Salt Lake City parking lot in February 1987. Exter, whose work includes sketches of the notorious Green River serial murder suspect in Washington state, said he mailed his new drawing to the FBI in December.

"I don't understand why they won't use it," Exter said in an interview. "If it's on target, which I believe it is, then he might panic and blow his cover."

At the time he prepared the original sketch, Exter said he was asked by investigators to draw the Unabomber without sunglasses but felt he lacked the skills to do so. In recent years, however, Exter has consulted with anthropologists and learned how to study human skull structure to determine eye shape and size.

The eyes he gave the Unabomber "may not be exact, but they are definitely in the ballpark," Exter said. "When you have a certain shape of skull, there's not a whole lot of variation in the eyes--except maybe in their cant."

Exter said he was moved to re-sketch the Unabomber without glasses after the death of New Jersey advertising executive Thomas Mosser Dec. 10, 1994. He said he believes the sunglasses--which obscure a large portion of the bomber's face--discourage people from attempting to recognize a suspect.

"I thought if we gave this guy eyes, it might trigger something before he kills somebody else," Exter said.

GRAPHIC: Police won't release an updated composite of the Unabomber, preferring this 1987 sketch. ; LOS ANGELES TIMES