Unabomber News History

Copyright 1994 The Times Mirror Company

Los Angeles Times

December 12, 1994, Monday, Home Edition

SECTION: Part A; Page 1; Column 3; National Desk

LENGTH: 523 words





A videotape-sized mail bomb that killed an advertising executive this weekend appeared 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 at least 14 bombings in 16 years, federal agents said Sunday.

The explosion in the kitchen of a North Caldwell, N.J., home killed Thomas J. Mosser, the newly named general manager and executive vice president of Young & Rubicam Inc., the New York advertising agency. Officials said laboratory analyses of fragments from the neatly wrapped white package bore the trademarks of a mysterious bomb maker code-named "Unabom" by the FBI.

The law enforcement name reflects the bomber's predilection in other attacks for 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.

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

Mosser's wife, his two children -- 13 years old and 15 months -- and the child of a neighbor were at the home but were not injured when the bomb exploded, ripping a large hole in a kitchen counter and filling the house with smoke.

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 30s or 40s who was once seen with a mustache -- has used elaborate ruses, including disguising one bomb as a book and another as a piece of wood.

One reason Mosser might have been targeted is because he was mentioned recently in a New York Times story, investigators told the newspaper.

At least three of the other victims, including two last year, were featured in New York Times stories describing them as leaders in their fields, the newspaper reported today. A story on Mosser's promotion was published Dec. 5.

Mosser's death is believed to be the bomber's first attack in 18 months. Charles Epstein, a geneticist at UC 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.

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

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

The series of bombings began in 1978, and other blasts occurred in California, Illinois, Utah, Tennessee, Michigan and Washington.

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

GRAPHIC: Photo, COLOR, (San Fernando Valley Edition, A1) Firefighter comforts widow. Associated Press