George Metesky

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George Metesky – New Yorks Mad Bomber.

The Mad Bomber of New York City

It was the first criminal profiling case is U.S. history … and it all boiled down to a disgruntled Con Ed employee. He stuffed rudimentary pipe bombs inside wool socks. Over 20 exploded across New York City, injuring 15 and terrifying the public. Despite a manhunt for the bomber, authorities were stumped – until a psychiatrist provided an eerily exact criminal profile that led directly to the culprit’s arrest.

The Mad Bomber, later revealed as being a man called George Metesky, terrorised New York City for nearly sixteen years between 1940 and 1956. He planted a total of thirty three small bombs in theatres, phone booths, train stations, libraries and other public areas.

Metesky also sent letters to the police and press — in these it was evident that the primary motivation behind the attacks was a grudge held against the Consolidated Edison energy and utility company. In one of his letters, written entirely in block capitals, he said:

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.

Fingerprint, bomb, handwriting and other forensic experts working alongside the New York Police Department toiled to apprehend the bomber to no avail. Criminal profiling had been used in previous cases — most famously, to profile Jack the Ripper — but it was by no means the standardised practice it was to become.

Nevertheless, nearly out of options, investigators approached psychiatrist and criminologist Dr James Brussel to create a criminal profile of this mysterious madman.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Corbis Images. 21 January 1957. "Mad Bomber" George Metesky Smiling in Jail. Bomber Behind Bars---Happy Terrorist.--Obviously enjoying the white light of publicity, George Metesky grins happily from behind the bars of Waterbury jail after his arrest as the "Mad Bomber" who had terrorized the New York area for more than 16 years with his planted homemade bombs.

Photo: Corbis Images. 21 January 1957. “Mad Bomber” George Metesky Smiling in Jail. Bomber Behind Bars—Happy Terrorist.–Obviously enjoying the white light of publicity, George Metesky grins happily from behind the bars of Waterbury jail after his arrest as the “Mad Bomber” who had terrorized the New York area for more than 16 years with his planted homemade bombs.

Mad Bomber Arrested!

Serial killers must continuously kill simply because they are addicted to the feeling they get through the process. They’re rationalizing every aspect of their behaviour so they don’t see any good reason to stop doing what they’re doing. That’s when the headache for investigators comes into the game – how to get even a smallest idea of who the killer may be?

This kind of problem solver is criminal profiling, also known as psychological profiling. The origins of criminal profiling date back to the Middle Ages, where the inquisitors were trying to profile heretics. In 19th century, the potential of profiling was realized by Hans Gross, Alphonse Bertillon, Jacob Fries, Cesare Lombroso, but their researches were generally considered to be prejudiced.

Psychiatrist Dr. James A. Brussel is credited to be an author of the first systematic profile within a criminal investigation, while chasing a person, best known as “Mad Bomber”, responsible for a series of indiscriminate bombings spanning 16 years in New York.

On November 16, 1940, an unexploded bomb was found on a window ledge of the Consolidated Edison building in Manhattan. It was wrapped in a very neatly hand-written note that read,

CON EDISON CROOKS-THIS IS FOR YOU.

The police were baffled; surely whoever delivered the bomb would know that the note would be destroyed if the bomb detonated. Was the bomb meant to not go off? Was the person stupid …or was he just sending a message?

No discernible fingerprints were found on the device and a brief search of company records brought no leads, so the police treated the case as an isolated incident by a crackpot, possibly someone who had a grievance with “Con-Ed,” the huge company that proved New York City with all its gas and electric power.

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