Attack: May 25, 1978
A Northwestern University security guard opens a suspicious package and is injured by a homemade explosive. Over 17 years, increasingly sophisticated bombs will kill three and harm nearly two dozen others. Once authorities start linking the bombings, they use the shorthand “Unabomber,” a code name derived from early targets: universities and airlines.
Breakthrough: January 1996
After reading the Unabomber’s manifesto, a 35,000 word essay that was published by the Washington Post and the New York Times, David Kaczynski reaches out to the FBI through a lawyer, worried that his brother Ted could be the author. Agents interview David, review writing samples and home in on their suspect.
Capture: April 3, 1996
Ted Kaczynski is picked up at his cabin in rural Montana after a weeks-long stakeout, nearly 18 years after the incident at Northwestern University.