Unabomber News History

Copyright 1994 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

December 13, 1994, Tuesday, FIVE STAR Edition


LENGTH: 747 words


SOURCE: Compiled From News Services



Thomas J. Mosser had reached a high point in his career, newly promoted to a top job at Young & Rubicam Inc., the giant ad agency.

Already he had been involved in a number of attention-getting campaigns: handling the media during the Tylenol poisoning scare, helping promote the disastrous new Coke formula and the reintroduction of classic Coke, and organizing the 1984 cross-country Olympic torch run.

But outside Madison Avenue, he was probably unknown to anyone but a very close reader of the business pages.

And somewhere in his list of clients may lie a clue to why the 50-year-old New Jersey man was sent a mail bomb that killed him in the kitchen of his mansion Saturday in North Caldwell, a New York suburb, as he was going through the mail before going out to buy a Christmas tree. (THE FOLLOWING WAS INSERTED IN THE 3* EDITION)

"He was really an all-American kind of person, and the last person you would think this would happen to," said longtime friend Robert Dilenschneider. (END OF 3* INSERTION)

On Monday, a United Parcel Service worker who tried to deliver a package to Mosser's mansion was intercepted by police. The package turned out to be harmless.

A longtime friend, Robert Dilenschneider, said Mosser "was really an all-American kind of person, and the last person you would think this would happen to."

The FBI believes Mosser is the latest victim of the man the bureau calls the Unabomber, who since 1978 has killed two people and injured 23. On Monday, investigators could not say why Mosser had been targeted by the Unabomber, whose previous targets had connections to universities, airlines or computers.

Investigators were searching for any link between Mosser and the rest of the Unabom victims. Richard McGowan, a Young & Rubicam spokesman, said there was no indication that the bombing was related to Mosser's work, but the FBI said it was reviewing Mosser's client list.

Industry watchers at trade magazines said some of Mosser's former clients at Y&R's public relations subsidiary, Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, were in the airline industry. And computer giants Xerox Corp. and Digital Equipment Corp. had recently hired Young & Rubicam.

The FBI said Monday that the package the bomb came in had borne a return address and Dec. 3 postmark from San Francisco. A team of agents in New Jersey and the Unabom task force, based in San Francisco, are investigating.

Law enforcement officials suspect that the bomber does not know his victims but rather is seeking to make some kind of symbolic statement.

Over the years, Mosser helped Johnson & Johnson handle media inquiries during the Tylenol poisoning cases in 1982. Seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol capsules poisoned with cyanide.

Mosser also handled Coca-Cola's introduction of its new Coke in the mid-1980s - one of the biggest blunders in marketing history - and then the unveiling of Coca-Cola Classic.

He also organized the 1984 cross-country Olympic Torch Run, was hired to help South Korea act as host of the Olympics and was a member of the New York City Bicentennial Committee.

Dilenschneider, chief executive at the New York-based public relations agency, the Dilenschneider Group, described Mosser as "a very fair, honest, ethical competitor."

Mosser was promoted Dec. 1 to general manager of Young & Rubicam Inc., also retaining his title as executive vice president. He was former vice chairman and chief operating officer of Burson-Marsteller, which he joined in 1969.

His promotion brought him notice in the trade press, and he had been named in a 1986 Fortune magazine article as among "people to watch" in business.

Mosser served on the Board of Governors for the Children's Miracle Network from 1990 to 1992. "He helped open the doors of large corporations for us," said Roger Cook, a spokesman for the nonprofit group.

Mosser; his wife, Susan; and their two children, 13 years and 15 months, moved into their $ 900,000 home on Aspen Drive about four years ago. Mayor Jim Matarazzo, owner of Matarazzo Farms and Garden Center, said the Mossers were customers. "They were nice, good residents. The community - we're in shock." Ticking Package

In Meriden, Conn., a ticking Christmas package frightened postal workers, who summoned the police bomb squad Monday.

The package later proved to contain a telephone answering machine and batteries. But it was making what one worker called "funny ticking noises."

GRAPHIC: PHOTO; Color photo headshot of (Thomas J.) Mosser