Copyright 1994 The San Diego Union-Tribune
The San Diego Union-Tribune
December 13, 1994, Tuesday
SECTION: NEWS; Ed. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8; Pg. A-3
LENGTH: 520 words
HEADLINE: Unabomber hunt aims at N. California Many of the explosives mailed to or from area
BYLINE: CYNTHIA HUBERT McClatchy News Service
Suspicions grew stronger yesterday that an elusive serial bomber whose devices have killed two people and maimed 23 since 1978 has close ties to Northern California.
Seven of the 15 bombs fashioned by the suspect, including one that killed a New Jersey advertising executive Saturday, have been mailed or placed in San Francisco, Oakland or Sacramento, federal officials said.
The parcel bomb that fatally injured Thomas J. Mosser of North Caldwell, N.J., last week carried a San Francisco postmark and return address, said Jim Freeman, special agent in charge of the FBI's San Francisco office.
Freeman declined to release anything more about the return address, but another person close to the case said it was associated with a Bay Area university.
The clues, pieced together from package fragments, led investigators to call on Northern Californians to come forward with information about the bomb maker, who has frustrated authorities for 16 years. Authorities have dubbed the suspect the "Unabomber" because in the past he had seemed to want to torment universities and airlines.
"He certainly has a familiarity with the Bay Area and Northern California," said Freeman. "Whether or not he's a full-time resident of this area, I don't know. I want residents of this area to treat it as that and examine the possibility that the Unabomb subject is a resident in one of our communities."
The FBI and U.S. Postal Inspector's Office have labeled the Unabomb case one of their top priorities. They have assembled a 25-person task force, based in San Francisco, set up a special hotline and posted a $1 million reward for information in the case.
But despite hundreds of leads, they have been unable to track the Unabomber.
"My assumption is that he lives within commuting distance from Sacramento and San Francisco," said Bob Bell, a Sacramento County homicide detective who has been involved in the Unabomb case.
Crime experts have developed a profile of the suspect, who they believe to be a white man in his 30s or 40s. He is probably a "loner" who may appear to be a "nice guy" with no obvious violent tendencies, they said.
He has mailed or planted bombs in seven states: California, Connecticut, Utah, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan and Washington.
Mosser, a prominent advertising executive, received his deadly package bomb Friday but didn't open it until the next day.
Postal workers who handled the bomb had no reason to be suspicious of the package, which was about the size of a videocassette and neatly wrapped, said Jay Skidmore, chief inspector in Newark.
Law enforcement authorities in New Jersey said the powerful bomb exploded when Mosser opened it as he stood in the kitchen of his home in an exclusive neighborhood about 25 miles northwest of Newark.
Mosser's wife and two children were home at the time of the blast, but no one else was injured.
The only other fatality attributed to the Unabomber occurred in 1985, when Sacramento computer store owner Hugh Scrutton picked up a bomb disguised as a block of wood near the entrance to his business.
GRAPHIC: 1 PHOTO; FBI sketch of the bombing suspect.