April 1, 2011
Ted Kaczynski being escorted to the Helena, Mont., courthouse on April 4, 1996. (John Youngbear/Courtesy The Associated Press)

Ted Kaczynski being escorted to the Helena, Mont., courthouse on April 4, 1996. (John Youngbear/Courtesy The Associated Press)

15 Years Ago in News History: Arrest of the Unabomber

In May 1978, a bomb mailed to a professor at Northwestern University exploded, injuring a campus policeman. The attack was the first in a 17-year-long crime spree perpetrated by an elusive criminal known as the Unabomber.

The FBI launched an investigation into the attacks in 1979, yet agents in the UNABOM case — shorthand for the suspect's targeting of universities and airlines — hit one dead end after another.

Over the next several years, the Unabomber would kill three people and injure numerous others with homemade explosives mailed or hand delivered to victims.

A break in the case came in 1995, when the suspect sent a 35,000-word anti-technology manifesto to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The FBI urged the papers to publish the treatise, hoping someone would recognize the ideas it contained.

The Post eventually published the document with financial support from the Times. Thousands of tips poured in, including one from David Kaczynski, the bomber's brother. The information led the FBI to Theodore "Ted" Kaczynski, who was living as a hermit in the wilds of Montana.

On April 3, 1996, agents arrested Kaczynski at his cramped cabin, putting an end to his reign of terror.

The Unabomber's cabin, part of the "G-Men and Journalists" exhibit, is on display in the ABC News Changing Exhibits Gallery on the Concourse level.

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