George Metesky


George Metesky

George P. Metesky (November 2 1903 – May 23 1994), better known as the Mad Bomber, terrorized New York City for 16 years in the 1940s and 1950s with explosives he planted in theaters, terminals, libraries and offices. Bombs were left in phone booths, storage lockers and restrooms in public buildings, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Public Library, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the RCA Building, as well as in the New York City Subway. Perhaps most notably, Metesky bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60710FE3D5E177A93C1A91789D95F428585F9
title= 6 HURT IN BOMBING AT THEATRE HERE; 1,500 in Brooklyn Paramount as Crude Device Explodes
date= 1956-12-03
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A crude, homemade bomb exploded in the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre last night, injuring six persons. Fifteen hundred persons were in the theatre.
accessdate= 2007-09-14
]

Angry and resentful about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier, Metesky planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30F1EF63C5F147B93C1AB178AD85F438585F9
title= 15 WERE INJURED BY BOMB BLASTS; 33 Devices, of Which 22 Went Off, Were Planted Here Over 16-Year Period – List of Bomb Sites
date= 1957-01-23
publisher= The New York Times
quote= Between Nov. 18, 1940, and Dec. 24, 1956--a month more than sixteen years--the "Mad bomber" placed at least thirty-three homemade explosive devices.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
] He was apprehended based on an early use of offender profiling and clues given in letters he wrote to a newspaper. He was found legally insane and committed to a state mental hospital. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30E17FD3C54177B93CBA8178FD85F438585F9
title= 'BOMBER' ORDERED TO STATE HOSPITAL; Leibowitz Commits Metesky to Matteawan as 'Hopeless and Incurable Man' – Mental Factor Decisive
date= 1957-04-19
quote= George Metesky, the so-called "Mad Bomber," was committed to Matteawan Hospital for the Criminally Insane yesterday by Judge Samuel S. Leibowitz in Kings County Court.
publisher= The New York Times
accessdate= 2007-09-14
]

Industrial accident

Following World War I, Metesky joined the U.S. Marines, serving as a specialist electrician at the United States Consulate in Shanghai. Returning home, he went to work as a mechanic for a subsidiary of the Consolidated Edison utility company and lived in Waterbury, Connecticut with his two unmarried sisters. In 1931, Metesky was working as a generator wiper at the company's Hell Gate generating plant when a boiler backfire produced a blast of hot gases. The blast knocked Metesky down and the fumes filled his lungs, choking him. The accident left him disabled, and after collecting 26 weeks of sick pay he lost his job. According to claims disputed by Consolidated Edison, the accident led to pneumonia that in turn developed into tuberculosis. A claim for workers' compensation was denied because he waited too long to file it. Three appeals of the denial were also rejected, the last in 1936. He developed a hatred for the company's attorneys and for the three co-workers whose testimony in his compensation case he believed was perjured in favor of the company. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10E14F63B5C14738DDDAC0A94D9405B8789F1D3
title= Twisted Course of 'Mad Bomber' Vengeance Traced in a Deeply Complex Personality – Was Pampered by Sisters – Silent on Vengeance Plans – Owned a .38 Revolver – Had Bomb for Coliseum – Almost Caught One Day – Avoided the Confessional
last= Berger
first= Meyer
date= 1957-01-25
publisher= The New York Times
quote= GEORGE P. METESKY, the machinist and electrician who planted forty-seven bombs in public places in the city between 1940 and the end of 1956, is a complex fellow.
accessdate= 2007-09-16
] cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40B11F63C5F147B93C1AB178AD85F438585F9
title= Edison Clerk Finds Case in File; Bomber's Words Alerted Her; Alice Kelly Tells of Uncovering Record in Documents--Company Says It Notified Detective Squad Last Friday Night
author=
last= Feinberg
first= Alexander
date= 1957-01-23
publisher= The New York Times
quote= It was about 5 P.M. last Friday, almost quitting time, when Miss Alice G. Kelly, a senior office assistant at the Consolidated Edison Company, spotted a compensation case in the "dead" files. On top of this particular file, in red italics for emphasis, she noted the words "injustice" and "permanent disability".
accessdate= 2007-09-17
] cite news
url= http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/10/nyregion/10bomber.html?ex=1190174400&en=ee4483b11de0e581&ei=5070
title= Terror in the Age of Eisenhower
last= Delafuente
first= Charles
date= 2004-09-10
publisher= The New York Times
quote= There was a bomber on the loose in New York City. On the evening of Dec. 2, 1956, 1,500 people were at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater watching 'War and Peace' when a pipe bomb beneath a seat exploded at 7:50 p.m. Six people were injured, including Abraham Blumenthal, who was lifted out of his seat by the blast. The next day, Police Commissioner Stephen P. Kennedy ordered what he called the 'greatest manhunt in the history of the Police Department.'
accessdate= 2007-09-18
]

He planted his first bomb on November 16, 1940, leaving it on a window sill at the Consolidated Edison power plant at 170 West 64th Street in Manhattan.

Bombs

His first two bombs drew little attention, but the string of random bombings that began in 1951 frayed the city's nerves and taxed the resources of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Metesky often placed warning calls to the buildings where he had planted bombs, but would not specify the bomb's exact location; he wrote to newspapers warning that he planned to plant more. Some bombs came with notes, but the note never revealed a motive, or a reason for choosing that particular location. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0D10F93B5C14738DDDAC0A94D9405B8789F1D3
title= Bomb-Hunt Delay Laid to Con Edison By Police Sources; POLICE SAY EDISON IMPEDED SEARCH
date= 1957-01-25
publisher= The New York Times
quote= Police investigators charged yesterday that the Consolidated Edison Company had impeded their search for the "Mad Bomber."
accessdate= 2007-09-17
]

Metesky's bombs were gunpowder-filled pipe bombs, ranging in size from four to ten inches long and from one-half inch to two inches in diameter. Most used timers constructed from flashlight batteries and cheap pocket watches. Investigators at bomb sites learned to look for a wool sock – Metesky used these to transport the bombs and sometimes to hang them from a rail or projection.

Between 1940 and 1956, Metesky planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people.

1940–1941

Metesky's first bomb was crude, a short length of brass pipe filled with gunpowder, cite book
title= Casebook of a Crime Psychiatrist
last= Brussel
first= James A
publisher= Bernard Geis Associates
year= 1968
pages= pages 7-73
quote= The paranoiac is the world's champion grudge-holder.
] with an ignition mechanism made of sugar and flashlight batteries. Enclosed in a wooden toolbox and left on a Consolidated Edison power plant window sill, it was found before it could go off. It was wrapped in a note written in distinctive block letters and signed "F.P.", stating cquote|CON EDISON CROOKS—THIS IS FOR YOU. Some investigators wondered if the bomb was an intentional dud, since if it had exploded the note would have been obliterated.

In September 1941, a bomb with a similar ignition mechanism was found lying in the street about five blocks away from the Consolidated Edison headquarters building at 4 Irving Place. This one had no note, and was also a dud. Police theorized that the bomber might have spotted a police officer and dropped the bomb without setting its fuse. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70917F73455177B93C7AB1789D95F428585F9
title= 16-Year Search for Madman; Edison Worker Sought HUNT FOR BOMBER COVERS 16 YEARS Grand Central Bombed – Writing Clues Explored – Trail Grows Hot – Crank Letters Traced – Psychiatrist Conceives Image
date= 1956-12-25
publisher= The New York Times
quote= For more than sixteen years, the police have searched for the cunning eccentric who has planted thirty-two homemade explosive engines—like the one that led to the clearing of Bryant Park yesterday—around midtown Manhattan. The 'bomber' has left no positive clue.
accessdate= 2007-09-21
]

Shortly after the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the police received a letter in block capital letters:cquote|I WILL MAKE NO MORE BOMB UNITS FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR—MY PATRIOTIC FEELINGS HAVE MADE ME DECIDE THIS—LATER I WILL BRING THE CON EDISON TO JUSTICE—THEY WILL PAY FOR THEIR DASTARDLY DEEDS... F.P.

1951–1956

Metesky planted no bombs between 1941 and 1951, choosing instead to send crank letters and postcards to police stations, newspapers, private citizens and Con Edison. Investigators studying the penciled, block-lettered messages noted that the letters "G" and "Y" had an odd shape, possibly indicating a European education. The long hiatus since the last bomb and the improved construction techniques of the first new bomb led investigators to believe that the bomber had served in the military.

For his new wave of bombings, Metesky mainly chose public buildings as targets, bombing several of them multiple times. Bombs were left in phone booths, storage lockers and restrooms in public buildings including Grand Central Terminal (five times), Pennsylvania Station (five times), Radio City Music Hall (three times), the New York Public Library (twice), the Port Authority Bus Terminal (twice) and the RCA Building, as well as in the New York City Subway. Perhaps most notably, Metesky bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside.

1951

On March 29, the first Metesky bomb of the new wave, and also the first Metesky bomb to explode, startled commuters in Grand Central Terminal but injured no one. It had been dropped into a sand urn near the Oyster Bar on the terminal's lower level. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50C1FFB355A1A7B93C2AA1788D85F458585F9
title= BOMB BLAST IN TERMINAL; Homemade Device Explodes in Grand Central--No One Is Hurt
date= 1951-03-30
publisher= The New York Times
quote= An explosion from a small homemade bomb startled many commuters during the rush hour at 5:22 P. M. yesterday in Grand Central Terminal, but no one was injured and there was no panic.
accessdate= 2007-09-24
] In April, Metesky's next bomb exploded without injury in a telephone booth in the New York Public Library; in August a phone-booth bomb exploded without injury at Grand Central. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40D14FB395F147B93C7AB178FD85F458585F9
title= BOMB GOES OFF IN LIBRARY; Crude, Homemade Device Hurts No One, Does Little Damage
date= 1951-04-25
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A small, homemade bomb exploded in an empty telephone booth in the basement of the New York Public Library at 6:10 P. M. yesterday, injuring no one and causing slight damage.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
]

Metesky next planted a bomb that exploded without injury in a phone booth at the Consolidated Edison headquarters building at 4 Irving Place. He also mailed one bomb, which did not explode, to Consolidated Edison from White Plains, New York. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10913FB3B55177B93C1A81782D85F458585F9
title= BOMB LAID TO PRANKSTER; Police Tie Consolidated Edison Blast to Previous Cases
date= 1951-09-13
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A small, metal-cased bomb, about the size of a flashlight battery, exploded in a telephone booth at 6:15 A. M. yesterday in the Consolidated Edison Company building at 4 Irving Place.
accessdate= 2007-09-23
]

On October 22, the "New York Herald Tribune" received a letter in penciled block letters, stating cquote|BOMBS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE CONSOLIDATED EDISON COMPANY IS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE FOR THEIR DASTARDLY ACTS AGAINST ME. I HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL OTHER MEANS. I INTEND WITH BOMBS TO CAUSE OTHERS TO CRY OUT FOR JUSTICE FOR ME. The letter directed police to the Paramount Theater in Times Square where a bomb was discovered and disabled, and to a telephone booth at Pennsylvania Station where nothing was found. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70A13FE3F5C117B93C5A9178AD95F458585F9
title= EX-EDISON WORKER HELD IN BOMB CASE; Faces Questioning on Placing of Explosives at Paramount and in Utility Building
date= 1951-11-07
publisher= The New York Times
quote= Frederick Eberhardt, 56 years old, of 4117 De Reimer Avenue, the Bronx, a veteran cable splicer who formerly was employed by the Consolidated Edison Company, was booked early today at the East Twenty-second Street station in connection with the recent placing of small "pipe" bombs at the company's office and also in the Paramount Theatre.
accessdate= 2007-09-21
]

On November 28, a coin-operated locker at the IRT 14th Street subway station was bombed, without injury. Near the end of the year, the "Herald Tribune" received another letter, warning:cquote|HAVE YOU NOTICED THE BOMBS IN YOUR CITY—IF YOU ARE WORRIED, I AM SORRY—AND ALSO IF ANYONE IS INJURED. BUT IT CANNOT BE HELPED—FOR JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED. I AM NOT WELL, AND FOR THIS I WILL MAKE THE CON EDISON SORRY—YES, THEY WILL REGRET THEIR DASTARDLY DEEDS—I WILL BRING THEM BEFORE THE BAR OF JUSTICE—PUBLIC OPINION WILL CONDEMN THEM—FOR BEWARE, I WILL PLACE MORE UNITS UNDER THEATER SEATS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. F.P.

1952

On March 19, a bomb exploded in a phone booth at the Port Authority Bus Terminal without causing injury. In June and again in December bombs exploded in seats at the Lexington Avenue Loew's theater. The December bombing injured one person, and was the first Metesky bomb to cause injury. Police had asked the newspapers not to print any of the bomber's letters and to play down earlier bombings, but by now the public was becoming aware that a "Mad Bomber" was on the loose.

1953

Bombs exploded in seats at Radio City Music Hall and at the Capitol Theater, with no injuries. A bomb again exploded near the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal, this time in a coin-operated rental locker, again with no injuries. Police described this bomb as the homemade product of a "publicity-seeking jerk". cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00A14F73C5B157A93C5A9178ED85F478585F9
title= A HOMEMADE BOMB RIPS STATION LOCKER
date= 1953-05-07
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A delayed action bomb, described by the police as the homemade product of a "publicity-seeking jerk," exploded in a parcel and luggage locker at Grand Central Terminal shortly before 5 P. M. yesterday. No one was injured.
accessdate= 2007-09-23
] An unexploded bomb was found in a rental locker at Pennsylvania Station.

1954

A bomb wedged behind a sink in a Grand Central Terminal men's room exploded in March, slightly injuring three men. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00817FF3F55117A93C5A81788D85F408585F9
title= BOMB INJURES 3 IN GRAND CENTRAL; Washroom Slightly Damaged by Blast at Rush Hour of Home-Made Mechanism
date= 1954-03-17
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A home-made time bomb exploded yesterday in a washroom on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal. Three men were injured slightly, and little property damage was done.
accessdate= 2007-09-24
]

A phone-booth bomb planted at the Port Authority Bus Terminal exploded with no injuries. Another bomb was discovered in a phone booth removed from Pennsylvania Station for repair.

As a capacity Radio City Music Hall audience of 6,200 watched Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" on November 7, a bomb stuffed into the bottom cushion of a seat in the 15th row went off, injuring four patrons. The explosion was muffled by the heavy upholstery, and only those nearby heard it. While the film continued, the injured were escorted to the facility's first-aid room and about 50 people in the immediate area were moved to the back of the theater. After the film and the following stage show concluded an hour-and-a-half later, the police roped off 150 seats in the area of the explosion and began the search for evidence. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40C13FB3E59177B93CAA9178AD95F408585F9
title= Bomb in Music Hall Injures 4 in Crowd
date= 1954-11-08
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A crude, home-made time bomb exploded last night in the orchestra level of the Radio City Music Hall. It injured two women and two boys and startled a large section of the capacity audience in the world's second largest theatre.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

1955

A bomb exploded without injuries on the platform at the IRT Sutter Avenue subway station in Brooklyn. A bomb hung beneath a phone booth shelf exploded on the main floor of Macy's department store, with no injuries. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40811FB385B157B93C7AB178CD85F428585F9
title= BOMB BLAST IN MACY'S; Homemade Device Exploded in Main-Floor Phone Booth
date= 1956-07-25
publisher= The New York Times
quote= The mysterious "bomb terrorist" was blamed yesterday for another blast in Manhattan, this time in Macy's department store.
accessdate= 2007-10-14
] Two bombs exploded without injuries at Pennsylvania Station, one in a rental locker and one in a phone booth. A bomb was found at Radio City Music Hall after a warning phone call.

At the Roxy Theater a bomb dropped out of a slashed seat onto an upholsterer's workbench without exploding. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40C1FF83E5C1A7493C0A81783D85F418585F9
title= Bomb Left in Roxy; Linked to 22 Others
last= O'Kane
first= Lawrence
date= 1955-08-12
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A homemade time bomb was found inside a Roxy Theatre seat yesterday afternoon. It was discovered by an upholsterer who had taken the seat to his workroom to repair a slash in the red cloth covering.
accessdate= 2007-10-14
] A seat bomb exploded at the Paramount Theater; one patron was struck on the shoe by bomb fragments but disclaimed injury. Investigators discovered a small penknife pushed inside the seat, one of several found at theater seat bombings. They theorize that the bomber leaves his knife behind in case he is stopped and questioned . cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0D1FFD345E1A7493C2A8178BD95F418585F9
title= Bomb Explodes in Paramount, 24th of Its Kind Placed in City
date= 1955-10-10
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A crude bomb exploded at 6:48 o'clock last night in the Paramount Theatre. Fragments struck the shoe of one moviegoer, but he was not injured.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
] In December, a bomb exploded without injuries in a Grand Central men's-room stall. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20F10FB345E1A7493C0A91789D95F418585F9
title= CRUDE BOMB SET OFF; 24th of Kind Since 1940 Hurts No One in Grand Central
date= 1955-12-02
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A home-made bomb, similar to twenty-four others found in public places here since 1940, exploded in Grand Central Terminal at 5:05 o'clock last evening. No one was injured.
accessdate= 2007-10-14
]

1956

A 74-year-old men's-room attendant at Pennsylvania Station was seriously injured when a bomb in a toilet bowl exploded. A young man had reported an obstruction and the attendant tried to clear it using a plunger. Among the porcelain fragments, investigators found a watch frame and a wool sock. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10910F9345A10728FDDAB0A94DA405B8689F1D3
title= BOMB FELLS MAN AT PENN STATION; Attendant, 74, Severely Hurt in Lavatory Blast--Police Seek 2 for Questioning
date= 1956-02-22
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A 74-year-old attendant was seriously injured yesterday when a homemade bomb exploded in the men's lavatory at Pennsylvania Station.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

A guard at the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center discovered a piece of pipe about five inches long in a telephone booth. A second guard thought it might be useful in a plumbing project and took it home on the bus to New Jersey, where it exploded on his kitchen table early the next morning. No one was injured. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10E1EFE3C5416738FDDAC0894D0405B8689F1D3
title= Pipe Bomb From R.C.A. Building Blasts Guard's Home in Jersey
last= Schumach
first= Murray
date= 1956-08-05
publisher= The New York Times
quote= WEST NEW YORK, N.J., Aug. 4--An explosion in a kitchen here this morning proved to a special policeman that the "piece of pipe" he and two other guards had been carrying around Rockefeller. Center yesterday was a home-made time bomb.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

A December 2 bombing at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn left six of the theater's 1,500 occupants injured, one seriously, and drew tremendous news coverage and editorial attention. The next day, Police Commissioner Stephen P. Kennedy ordered what he called the "greatest manhunt in the history of the Police Department." cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F0081FFF3D5E177A93C6A91789D95F428585F9
title= Kennedy Orders Wide Manhunt For Movie Bombing Perpetrator
last= Perlmutter
first= Emanuel
date= 1956-12-04
publisher= The New York Times
quote= Police Commissioned Stephen P. Kennedy yesterday ordered what he called the 'greatest manhunt in the history of the Police Department' for the perpetrator of Sunday night's bombing at the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
]

On December 24, a New York Public Library clerk using a phone booth dropped a coin. Looking up after he retrieved it, he saw a maroon-colored sock held to the underside of the shelf by a magnet. The sock contained an iron pipe with a threaded cap on each end. After consulting with other employees, he threw the device out a window into Bryant Park, bringing the bomb squad and more than 60 NYPD police officers and detectives to the scene. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10917F73455177B93C7AB1789D95F428585F9
title= Device Found in Phone Booth; Bomb Tossed Into Park To Be Examined Today – Pipe-Bomb Is Found in Library; Psychotic Again Is Chief Suspect
author=
last= Perlmutter
first= Emanuel
date= 1956-12-25
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A fallen coin forestalled possible tragedy yesterday in the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
] In a letter to the "New York Journal American" the next month, Metesky said that the Public Library bomb, as well as one discovered later the same week inside a seat at the Times Square Paramount, had been planted months before.

1957 discovery

Eight months after Metesky's January 1957 arrest, a bomb not found in several police searches was discovered at the Lexington Avenue Loew's theater by an upholsterer repairing a recently vandalized seat. It was the last of the three bombs Metesky said he had planted there. The first two had exploded, one in June 1952 and one in December 1952, with the December explosion resulting in one injury. As of the Loew's discovery, only two of the dozens of bombs that Metesky claimed to have planted remained unaccounted for – one at a Con Edison site on the East River, the other at the Embassy Theater at 7th Avenue and 47th Street.

With the finding of the third Loew's bomb, police closed their "Mad Bomber" case, saying that their searches of the two remaining locations had been so thorough that they were satisfied that the bombs were no longer there, if indeed they ever were. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50717F7385A177B93C2A81782D85F438585F9
title= 'MAD BOMBER' CASE CLOSED BY POLICE; Old Explosive Found in East Side Movie--Believed to Be Metesky's Last One
date= 1957-09-10
publisher= The New York Times
quote= An old unexploded bomb was found in a seat in Loew's Lexington Theatre yesterday and the police finally closed the George Metesky "Mad Bomber" case.
accessdate= 2007-09-23
]

The search

Throughout the investigation, the prevailing theory was that the bomber was a former Con Edison employee with a grudge against the company. Con Edison employment records were reviewed, but there were hundreds of other leads, tips and crank letters to be followed up on. Detectives ranged far and wide, checking lawsuit records, mental hospital admissions, vocational schools where bomb parts might be made. Citizens turned in neighbors who behaved oddly, and co-workers who seemed to know too much about bombs. Everything had to be checked. A new group, the Bomb Investigation Unit, was formed to work on nothing but bomber leads.

In April 1956, the department issued a multi-state alert for a person described as a skilled mechanic, with access to a drill press or lathe (for its ability to thread pipe), who posted mail from White Plains, was over 40, and had a "deep seated hatred of the Consolidated Edison Company". cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10C10F93D5D15738FDDAC0894DC405B8689F1D3
title= POLICE ISSUE ALERT FOR BOMB PLANTER
date= 1956-04-05
publisher= The New York Times
quote= The Police Department has assembled the most comprehensive portrait yet of the eccentric bomb-planter who has eluded them for more than fifteen years.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
] A warning circular picturing a homemade pipe bomb similar to the bomber's was distributed. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50813F73A5B157B93C3AB1783D85F428585F9
title= Police Print Pipe-Bomb Circular
date= 1956-08-21
publisher= The New York Times
quote= The Police Department disclosed yesterday that it would distribute nationally a circular illustrating the type of homemade bomb that had been exploded in public places in midtown.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
] Police distributed samples of the bomber's distinctive printing and asked anyone who might recognize it to notify them. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00C1FF63854157B93C3A81789D95F428585F9
title= Police Ask Aid in Hunt for Bomber
date= 1956-12-11
publisher= The New York Times
quote= The Police Department distributed photographs yesterday of parts of letters received from the person who has been placing bombs in theatres and railroad terminals for the last sixteen years.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
] A review of drivers' license applications in White Plains, the city favored by the bomber for posting his mail, found similarities in 500 of them to the bomber's printing; the names were forwarded to the NYPD for investigation.

The December 2 1956 bombing of the Brooklyn Paramount drew tremendous news coverage and editorial attention. The following day, Police Commissioner Stephen P. Kennedy met with commanders of every NYPD division and ordered what he called the "greatest manhunt in the history of the Police Department." Calling the bomber's activities "an outrage that cannot be tolerated", he promised "an immediate good promotion" to whoever arrested the bomber, and directed commanders to alert every member of the force to the absolute necessity of a capture. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F0081FFF3D5E177A93C6A91789D95F428585F9
title= Kennedy Orders Wide Manhunt For Movie Bombing Perpetrator
last= Perlmutter
first= Emanuel
date= 1956-12-04
publisher= The New York Times
quote= Police Commissioned Stephen P. Kennedy yesterday ordered what he called the 'greatest manhunt in the history of the Police Department' for the perpetrator of Sunday night's bombing at the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
]

On December 27, 1956, the New York City Board of Estimate and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association posted $26,000 in rewards for the bomber's apprehension. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60611FF3C5F147B93C0AB178AD85F438585F9
title= SUSPECT IS HELD AS 'MAD BOMBER'; HE ADMITS ROLE; Files of Edison Co. Lead to Ex-Employe in Waterbury --Extradition Is Planned
date= 1957-01-22
publisher= The New York Times
quote= The police here announced early today that a 54-year-old man had admitted that he is the so-called Mad Bomber. The police said the man had confessed at Waterbury, Conn., where he is being questioned. They added that 'all things indicate he is the man.'
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

Distractions

Throughout the search, simulated bombs and false bomb reports wasted police resources and frightened an already nervous public. Some examples:

In 1951 Frederick Eberhardt, 56 years old and like Metesky a former Con Edison employee with a grudge, sent a simulated pipe bomb filled with sugar to the company's personnel director at 4 Irving Place. Eberhardt was charged with sending threatening material through the mails. At his arraignment in November, an assistant district attorney told the judge, "This defendant is a particular source of annoyance to the New York City police. We are firmly convinced that he is not of sound mind. He has been sending simulated bombs around the city the past few months. Hundreds of police have been called out at all hours of the day and night to investigate because of his actions." Eberhardt was sent to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric examination. Several months later the case was dismissed after Eberhardt's lawyer argued successfully that the package contained no "written threats", as the law required. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40815F83A5A127B93CAA9178AD95F458585F9
title= SUGAR BOMB SUSPECT IS SENT TO BELLEVUE
date= 1951-11-08
publisher= The New York Times
quote= Frederick Eberhardt, 56-year-old former employee of the Consolidated Edison Company, was sent to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric observation yesterday
accessdate= 2007-09-25
] cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0F1FF9385F177B93C4A8178ED85F468585F9
title= 'BOMB' CASE DISMISSED; Sugary Missile Bore No Threat in Writing, Court Is Told
date= 1952-05-16
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A charge of sending threatening material through the mails ... was dismissed in Felony Court yesterday ... for lack of evidence.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

In October 1951, the main waiting room at Grand Central Terminal was emptied and 3,000 lockers were searched after a telephoned bomb warning. The search involved more than 35 NYPD personnel, and took three hours because 1,500 of the lockers were in use and only one master key was available. As each locker was opened, the head of the bomb squad palpated its contents, keeping a portable fluoroscope at the ready. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10D16FD3C5C117B93C7A8178BD95F458585F9
title= BOMB SCARE A 'DUD' AT GRAND CENTRAL; 3,000 Lockers Are Searched in Vain After Anonymous Phone Call Is Received
date= 1951-10-15
publisher= The New York Times
quote= An anonymous telephone call warning that a bomb had been planted in a locker in Grand Central Terminal precipitated a tedious three-hour search yesterday of 3,000 lockers in the terminal. When the search was finally called off at 1:40 P.M. no explosive had been found.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

On December 29 1956, at the height of false bomb reports from theaters, department stores, schools and offices, a note left in a phone booth at Grand Central Terminal reported that a bomb had been placed at the Empire State Building, requiring a search of all 102 floors of the landmark. A 63-year-old railroad worker picked up at Grand Central as a suspect died of a heart attack while being questioned at the East 35th Street station house. Later investigation eliminated him as a suspect. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10816F7385B15738FDDA90B94DA415B8689F1D3
title= FALSE BOMB CALLS STILL PLAGUE CITY; Note Prompts Fruitless Hunt in Empire State Building
last= Feinberg
first= Alexander
date= 1956-12-30
publisher= The New York Times
quote= The urge of eccentrics to report that a bomb had been planted and would go off continued yesterday to harass a weary Police Department.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
]

Profiled

Fingerprint experts, handwriting experts, the bomb investigation unit and other NYPD groups worked with dedication but made little progress. With traditional police methods seemingly useless against Metesky's erratic bombing campaign, police captain John Cronin approached his friend Dr. James Brussel, a criminologist, psychiatrist, and assistant commissioner of the New York State Commission for Mental Hygiene. Captain Cronin asked Brussel to meet with Inspector Howard E. Finney, head of the NYPD's Crime Laboratory.

In his office with Finney and two detectives, Brussel examined the crime-scene photos and letters and discussed the bomber's metal-working and electrical skills. As he talked with the police, Brussel developed what he called a kind of "portrait" of the bomber, what we would now call an offender profile. The bomber's belief that he had been wronged by Consolidated Edison and by others acting in concert with Consolidated Edison seemed to dominate his thoughts, leading Brussel to conclude that the bomber was suffering from paranoia, a condition he describes as "a chronic disorder of insidious development, characterized by persistent, unalterable, systematized, logically constructed delusions." Based on the evidence and his own experience dealing with psychotic criminals, Brussel put forth a number of theories beyond the obvious grudge against Consolidated Edison: :Male, as historically most bombers were male. Well proportioned and of average build, based on studies of hospitalized mental patients. Forty to fifty years old, as paranoia develops slowly. Precise, neat and tidy, based on his letters and the workmanship of his bombs. An exemplary employee, on time and well-behaved. A Slav, because bombs were favored in Middle Europe. A Catholic, because most Slavs were Catholic. Courteous but not friendly.

:Has a good education but probably not college. Foreign-born or living in a community of the foreign-born – the formal tone and old-fashioned phrasing of the letters sounded to Brussel as if they had been written or thought out in a foreign language and then translated into English. Based on the rounded letter "w's" of the handwriting, believed to represent breasts, and the slashing and stuffing of theater seats, Brussel thought something about sex was troubling the bomber, possible an oedipus complex – loving his mother and hating his father and other authority figures.

:A loner, no friends, little interested in women, possibly a virgin. Unmarried, perhaps living with an older female relative. Probably lives in Connecticut, as Connecticut has high concentrations of Slavs, and many of the bomber's letters were posted in Westchester County, midway between Connecticut and New York City.

Brussel additionally predicted to his visitors that when the bomber was caught, he would be wearing a double-breasted suit, buttoned.

Although the police policy had been to keep the bomber investigation low-key, Brussel convinced them to heavily publicize the profile, predicting that any wrong assumption made in it would prod the bomber to respond. Under the headline "16-Year Search for a Madman", the "New York Times" version of the profile summarized the major predictions:cquote|Single man, between 40 and 50 years old, introvert. Unsocial but not anti-social. Skilled mechanic. Cunning. Neat with tools. Egotistical of mechanical skill. Contemptuous of other people. Resentful of criticism of his work but probably conceals resentment. Moral. Honest. Not interested in women. High school graduate. Expert in civil or military ordnance. Religious. Might flare up violently at work when criticized. Possible motive: discharge or reprimand. Feels superior to critics. Resentment keeps growing. Present or former Consolidated Edison worker. Probably case of progressive paranoia.

Newspapers published the profile on December 25 1956, Christmas Day, alongside the story of the so-called "Christmas Eve" bomb discovered in the Public Library. By the end of the month, bomb hoaxes and false confessions had risen to epidemic proportions. At the peak of the hysteria on December 28, police received over 50 false bomb alarms, over 20 the next day.

Journal-American letters

The day after the profile was published, the "New York Journal American" published an open letter, prepared in cooperation with the police, urging the bomber to give himself up. The newspaper promised a "fair trial" and offered to publish his grievances. Metesky wrote back the next day, signing his letter "F.P.". He said that he would not be giving himself up, and revealed a wish to "bring the Con. Edison to justice". He listed all the locations where he had placed bombs that year, and seemed concerned that perhaps not all had been discovered. Later in the letter he said cquote|My days on earth are numbered—most of my adult life has been spent in bed—my one consolation is—that I can strike back—even from my grave—for the dastardly acts against me. After some editing by the police, the newspaper published Metesky's letter on January 10, along with another open letter asking him for more information about his grievances. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50E17F63D5E147B93C3A8178AD85F438585F9
title= 'BOMBER' PRESSES THREAT ON UTILITY; Paper Makes Public a Letter Sent From Mt. Vernon-- Writer Won't Give Up
date= 1957-01-11
publisher= The New York Times
quote= A letter purporting to have come from the so-called Mad Bomber has been received by The New York Journal-American. That newspaper made it public yesterday, saying its authenticity had been attested by competent authorities. Police officials refused comment.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
]

Metesky's second letter provided some details about the materials used in the bombs (he favored pistol powder, as "shotgun powder has very little power"), promised a bombing "truce" until at least March 1, and stated "I was injured on job at Consolidated Edison plant—as a result I am adjudged—totally and permanently disabled", going on to say that he had had to pay his own medical bills and that Consolidated Edison had blocked his workers' compensation case. He also said cquote|When a motorist injures a dog—he must report it—not so with an injured workman—he rates less than a dog—I tried to get my story to the press—I tried hundreds of others—I typed tens of thousands of words (about 800,000)—nobody cared— [...] —I determined to make these dastardly acts known—I have had plenty of time to think—I decided on bombs. After police editing, the newspaper published his letter on January 15 and asked the bomber for "further details and dates" about his compensation case so that a new and fair hearing could be held.

Metesky's third letter was received by the newspaper on Saturday, January 19. The letter complained of lying unnoticed for hours on "cold concrete" after his injury without any first aid being rendered, then developing pneumonia and later tuberculosis. The letter added details about his lost compensation case and the "perjury" of his co-workers, and gave the date of his injury, September 5,1931. The letter suggested that if he did not have a family that would be "branded" by his giving himself up, he might consider doing so to get his compensation case reopened. He thanked the "Journal American" for publicizing his case and said "the bombings will never be resumed." This letter was published Tuesday, the day after Metesky was arrested. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60A11F63C5F147B93C1AB178AD85F438585F9
title= The Bomber's Grievances Came to Light in a Series of Letters; PAPER RECEIVED DETAILED NOTES – Text of His Correspondence to Journal-American Tells of Bitterness Over Injury – Suspect's First Letter Sent From Westchester
date= 1957-01-23
quote= The clues in George Metesky's three recent letters to The New York Journal-American, which led the police to him after a search of sixteen years, were disclosed yesterday.
publisher= The New York Times
accessdate= 2007-09-13
]

Identified

Con Edison clerk Alice Kelly had read the Christmas Day profile and for days had been scouring company workers' compensation files for employees with a serious health problem.On Friday, January 18 1957, while searching the final batch of "troublesome" worker's compensation case files – those where threats were made or implied – she found a file marked in red with the words "injustice" and "permanent disability", words that had been printed in the "Journal American". The file indicated that one George Metesky, an employee from 1929 to 1931, had been injured in a plant accident on September 5,1931. Several letters from Metesky in the file used wording similar to the letters in the "Journal American", including the phrase "dastardly deeds". The police were notified shortly before 5:00 that evening. They initially treated the notification as just "one of a number" of leads they were working on, but asked Waterbury police to do a "discreet check" on George Metesky and the house at 17 Fourth Street. cite news
url= http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2310tbomb.html
title= Nova: Bombing of America
date= 1997-03-25
publisher= PBS
quote= Looking at the story of the "Mad Bomber" is almost a template for UNABOM. There are a lot of similarities between the two, in the way they've done their crimes, and I'm confident that we'll find there's a lot of similarities between the two in their psychiatric or psychological makeup.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
]

After Metesky's arrest, early police statements credited the finding of his file to an NYPD detective. Later, a report developed in a reward investigation conceded that Alice Kelly had found the file, and explained the misplaced credit as due to a misunderstanding of the file being "picked up" by the detective (at the Con Edison offices on Monday morning) as meaning that the file was "picked out" (of many). Although the NYPD did officially credit Kelly with turning up the clue that led to Metesky's arrest, she declined to claim the $26,000 in rewards, saying she had merely been doing her job. Consolidated Edison's board of directors also declined to file for the reward, prompting a group of shareholders to file as representatives of Kelly and the company. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30D12FA3A5F11738DDDAF0994DA405B8789F1D3
title= 'BOMBER' REWARD MIGHT GO BEGGING; Woman Who Picked Out Key File Won't Claim $26,000 --Police Give Report
date= 1957-02-16
publisher= The New York Times
quote= It became increasingly evident yesterday that the $26,000 in rewards posted for the apprehension of the so-called Mad Bomber might never be paid.
accessdate= 2007-09-18
] cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00A10FD3A5A137A93C1A81789D85F438585F9
title= WOMEN'S UNIT SEEKS 'BOMBER' REWARDS
date= 1957-02-13
publisher= The New York Times
quote= The first claim for the $26,000 rewards offered for information leading to the capture of George P. Metesky, the so-called "Mad Bomber", was filed yesterday.
accessdate= 2007-09-19
]

Police investigators who later reviewed the path that led them to Metesky said that Con Edison had impeded the investigation for almost two years by repeatedly telling them that the records of employees whose services were terminated prior to 1940, the group Metesky was in, had been destroyed. The investigators said that they had learned of the records' existence only on January 14, through a confidential tip, and that even in the face of police demands and formal requests Con Edison stalled, declaring that the papers were legal documents and that the company's legal department would have to be consulted before granting access. A statement by the president of Consolidated Edison said this was due to a "misunderstanding".

Arrested

When the injury date given in the bomber's third letter matched George Metesky's accident date, police knew they had their man. Accompanied by Waterbury police, four NYPD detectives arrived at Metesky's home with a search warrant shortly before midnight on Monday, January 21, 1957. They asked him for a handwriting sample, and to make a letter "G". He made the "G", looked up and said, "I know why you fellows are here. You think I'm the Mad Bomber." The detectives asked what "F.P." stood for, and he responded, "F.P. stands for Fair Play."

He led them to the garage workshop, where they found his lathe. Back in the house they found pipes and connectors suitable for bombs hidden in the pantry, as well as three cheap pocket watches, flashlight batteries, brass terminal knobs, and unmatched wool socks of the type used to transport the bombs. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0A16F63C5F147B93C1AB178AD85F438585F9
title= BOMBER IS BOOKED; SENT TO BELLEVUE FOR MENTAL TESTS; Police Find Lathe, Pipes and Socks During Search of Home in Waterbury HE TELLS OF 1931 INJURY Talks Affably With Police-- Anger at Con Edison Led to 16-Year Vengeance
date= 1957-01-23
publisher= The New York Times
quote= George P. Metesky was arraigned in Felony Court here last night as the "Mad Bomber" who had spread alarm through the city for the last sixteen years. He is a 54-year-old resident of Waterbury, Conn., who formerly worked for the Consolidated Edison Company here.
accessdate= 2007-09-22
] cite news
url= http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,723774-1,00.html
title= George Did It
date= 1957-02-04
publisher= Time Magazine
quote= It was nearly 11 o'clock, one mild, foggy night last week, when a squad of cops deployed cautiously around an old, grey, lace-curtained house at 17 Fourth Street in the factory district of Waterbury, Conn. After the guards were set, plainclothesmen walked up the steps and pounded loudly on the front door. The downstairs lights winked on, and stocky, smiling, pajama-clad George Metesky, a 54-year-old bachelor, answered the knock. His two elderly spinster sisters watched warily in the background. George never lost his polite grin. 'I think.' he said after a few preliminary questions and answers. 'I know why you fellows are here. You think I'm the Mad Bomber.'
accessdate= 2007-09-15
] Metesky had answered the door in pajamas; after he was ordered to get dressed for the trip to Waterbury Police Headquarters, he reappeared wearing a double-breasted suit, buttoned.

Questioned

Metesky told the arresting officers that he had been "gassed" in the Con Edison accident, had contracted tuberculosis as a result, and started planting bombs because he "got a bum deal".Going over a police list of 32 bomb locations, but never using the word "bomb", he remembered the exact date where each "unit" had been placed, and its size. He then added to the police list the size, date and location of 15 early bombs the police had not known about – all left at Con Edison locations, and apparently never reported. When his Con Edison bombs were not mentioned in the newspapers, he started planting bombs in public places to gain publicity for what he termed the "injustices" done him. He also confirmed the reason no bombs were planted during the United States' involvement in World War II – the ex-Marine had abstained "for patriotic reasons". cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70C15FD345A137B93C2AB178DD85F468785F9
title= Court Here Rules 'The Mad Bomber' Is Still Incompetent
date= 1972-06-20
publisher= The New York Times
quote= George P. Metesky, the eccentric mechanic once known as "The Mad Bomber," lost a legal effort yesterday to have himself declared mentally competent.
accessdate= 2007-09-18
]

In their search, police found parts for a bomb that would have been larger than any of the others. Metesky explained that it was intended for the New York Coliseum.

Indicted

Metesky admitted to placing 32 bombs. After a grand jury heard testimony from 35 witnesses including police experts and those injured, he was indicted on 47 charges – of attempted murder, damaging a building by explosion, maliciously endangering life, and violation of New York State's Sullivan Law by carrying concealed weapons, the bombs. Seven counts of attempted murder were charged, based on the seven persons injured in the preceding five years, the statute of limitations in the case. Metesky was brought to the courtroom to hear the charges from Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, where he had been undergoing psychiatric examination. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70A12F73954177B93C3AA178AD85F438585F9
title= METESKY INDICTED ON BOMB CHARGES; Attempted Murder Among 47 Counts After Grand Jury Hears 35 Witnesses
date= 1957-01-31
publisher= The New York Times
quote= George P. Metesky was indicted yesterday as the so-called "Mad Bomber." Metesky has admitted that for sixteen years he planted explosives in New York.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

Committed to Matteawan

After hearing from psychiatric experts, Judge Samuel S. Liebowitz declared the tubercular Metesky a paranoid schizophrenic, "hopeless and incurable both mentally and physically", and found him legally insane and incompetent to stand trial. On April 18, 1957, Judge Liebowitz committed Metesky to the Matteawan Hospital for the Criminally Insane at Beacon, New York.

Expected to live only a few weeks due to his advanced tuberculosis, Metesky had to be carried into the hospital. After a year and a half of treatment, his health had improved, and a newspaper article written fourteen years later described the 68-year-old Metesky as "vigorous and healthy looking".

While he was at Matteawan, the "Journal American" hired a leading workers' compensation attorney to appeal his disallowed claim for the 1931 injury, on the grounds that Metesky was mentally incompetent at the time and did not know his rights. The appeal was denied. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70D12FD3C55137A93C2AA178ED85F438585F9
title= BOMBER'S CLAIM DENIED; State Refuses to Reconsider Metesky's Injury Case
date= 1957-05-30
publisher= The New York Times
quote= In rejecting the appeal, a panel of three board members ruled that Mr. O'Rourke had not offered conclusive proof that Metesky was mentally incompetent at the time of the accident.
accessdate= 2007-09-14
]

Metesky was unresponsive to psychiatric therapy, but was a model inmate and caused no trouble. He was visited regularly by his sisters and occasionally by Dr. Brussel, to whom he would point out that he had deliberately built his bombs not to kill anyone.

Released

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a mentally ill defendant cannot be committed to a hospital operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services unless a jury finds him dangerous. Since Metesky had been committed to Matteawan without a jury trial, he was transferred to the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, a state hospital outside the correctional system. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0E16FE3554137A93C4AB1782D85F478785F9
title= ' Mad Bomber' Due For Court Hearing; It Could Free Him
date= 1973-09-26
publisher= The New York Times
quote= George Metesky, the "Mad Bomber" who has been in state mental hospitals since he was judged incompetent to stand trial in 1957, will receive a court hearing that could lead to his freedom.
accessdate= 2007-09-25
]

Doctors determined that he was harmless, and because he had already served two-thirds of the 25-year maximum sentence he would have received at trial, Metesky was released on December 13, 1973. The single condition was that he make regular visits to a Connecticut Department of Mental Hygiene clinic near his home.

Interviewed by a reporter upon his release, he said that he had forsworn violence, but reaffirmed his anger and resentment toward Consolidated Edison. He also stated that before he began planting his bombs, cquote|I wrote 900 letters to the Mayor, to the Police Commissioner, to the newspapers, and I never even got a penny postcard back. Then I went to the newspapers to try to buy advertising space, but all of them turned me down. I was compelled to bring my story to the public. Metesky returned to his home in Waterbury, where he died twenty years later at the age of 90. cite news
url= http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40815FF385D127A93C1A81789D95F478785F9
title= 'Mad Bomber,' Now 70, Goes Free Today
last= Kaufman
first= Michael T
date= 1973-12-13
quote= George Metesky, the onetime "Mad Bomber," who for 16 years in the nineteen-forties and fifties terrorized the city with the explosives he set off in theaters, terminals, libraries and offices, is going home to Waterbury today.
publisher= The New York Times
accessdate= 2007-09-14
]

References


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