Copyright 1993 Globe Newspaper Company
The Boston Globe
June 26, 1993, Saturday, City Edition
SECTION: NATIONAL/FOREIGN; Pg. 3
LENGTH: 436 words
HEADLINE: Officials link parcel bombs to serial case; Globe staff writer Alice Dembner and wire services contributed to this report.
BYLINE: By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff and David Leonhardt, Special to the Globe
DATELINE: NEW HAVEN
The parcel bombs that exploded in the hands of two prominent professors here and in California this week are part of a string of 12 similar incidents dating to 1978 with victims from coast to coast, federal officials said yesterday.
The linkage to an unsolved serial bombing case, dubbed Unabom by investigators, was made after authorities examined physical evidence from the latest bombings sites, a Yale University computer science center and the suburban home of a San Francisco geneticist.
"The maker, or makers, of each of the 14 explosive devices is the same," said Milt Ahlerich, special agent in charge of the FBI in Connecticut. "We've had people here who are extraordinarily familiar with all of the previous bombings who have taken a good hard look at what was pulled out of the scene."
Ahlerich described the finding as a "preliminary determination," but also said that investigators are virtually "certain" that all of the 14 the incidents are related.
However, the finding that the bombings are connected appeared to offer limited consolation to federal authorities who have been unable to find out who produced the 12 explosive devices placed in seven states from 1978 to 1987, or why the bombs were made.
Ever since the first device was detonated, injuring a Northwestern University security guard in Evanston, Ill., investigators have struggled to establish a motive in a case as chilling as it is mysterious.
"Nailing down the motive has been one of the most difficult aspects of the investigation," Ahlerich said. "This is an extremely challenging case and has been for a long, long time."
One factor that has made it difficult to find a motive, investigators said, is the relatively disparate collection of victims. Although most seem to have been university personnel working in computer sciences, airline personnel and computer dealers also have been targeted. The bombings have left one dead and 23 injured.
In the latest attacks, investigators have noted an interest in genetics shared by a University of California researcher who lost several fingers on Tuesday, and by relatives of a Yale computer science professor seriously injured Thursday.
Charles Epstein, 59, is the head of medical genetics at the University of California at San Francisco. And David Gelertner, 38, is a reknowned computer scientist with a brother and sister-in-law who are Yale geneticists.
Yesterday, officials at Boston-area universities said they were stepping up precautionary measures with additional warnings and descriptions of packages that should be reported as suspicious. GRAPHIC: DRAWING, Artist's sketch of possible suspect in series of bombings.