Outline how offender profiling techniques were used to solve the case of 'The Mad Bomber of New York'?

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rrjrobinson1's profile pic

rrjrobinson1 | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Profiling of suspects, now a common occurrence when locating serial criminals, was in its infancy during the 1940s and 1950s. However, quick thinking by a profiler during that period led to the break in the case and the capture of the suspect.

George P. Metesky, the “Mad Bomber of New York” left bombs in busy public places in New York, terrorizing the city. Most of the bombs had notes attached, explaining that the attacks were retaliation for injuries the bomber had received at work. The notes and related letters written to a newspaper, along with cooperation from an observant clerk, aided in the criminal profile.

The profiler determined the equipment the bomber had used, the bomber’s handwriting style, psychological condition, gender, educational level, and relationships affinity. The profiler even correctly predicted what Metesky would be wearing when he was captured.

The positive identication came when police got Metesky to respond to a series of newspaper articles. The responses coincided with letters the clerk had flagged as being suspicious.

Before Metesky was apprehended sixteen years after the attacks began, 16 people were injured in an explosion at a movie theater.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Much of the profiling techniques used in this case are very similar to the elements used today.  The notes that Matesky left at the scene helped to formulate the basis and then the techniques helped to develop a more profound portrait of the bomber.  The obvious disenchantment with Con Edison as well as the other elements began to fall into place.  The use of the profiling techniques hinged on the idea that the bomber, to a certain extent, wanted to be known for what he was doing.  This would be consistent with the entire refrain of wanting to bring Con Ed to justice.  As they realized this, the law enforcement officers used the media to publicize their "profile" and hope to engage the offender into some type of public discourse, which ended up happening, contributing to him being found.

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