Tuesday, December 13, 2005

New York's Unabomber

While researching Croatian terrorists in New York recently, Slavs of New York discovered the story of George Metesky, a Polish-American New Yorker. Metesky ran a Unabomber-like campaign of terror in the city in the 1940s and 1950s and was recently featured on HBO in Forensic Features: The Mad Bomber.

In November, 1940, Metesky began his career as a terrorist by placing a bomb on a window ledge at the Consolidated Edison Building on West 64th Street in Manhattan. It was discovered unexploded and police considered it an isolated incident.

A similar bomb was discovered near Con Edison offices on East 19th Street in September 1941, and police received a letter from the would-be bomber that December. The letter stated that the bomber would "cease his activities for the duration of the war, but added, ' I will bring the Con Edison to justice - they will pay for their dastardly deeds." Seventeen similar letters were also sent to newspapers and business including Con Edison itself.

In March 1950, another unexploded bomb was discovered at Grand Central, and in April 1950 another bomb actualy did go off in a phone booth at the New York Public Library. During the next seven years, nearly 40 bombs were discovered around the city and at least twelve did in fact explode. At least ten people were injured by the Mad Bomber, as he came to be known.

Metesky was finally arrested at home in Waterbury, Connecticut. Police discovered a bomb-making workshop in his garage which he made no effort to hide. As it turned out, Metesky's grudge against Con Edison was the result of an accident at a United Electric & Power Company plant where he had worked. He blamed the accident for his later diagnosis of tuberculosis, but his disability claim was denied. United Electric & Power Company was one of the smaller companies later folded into Con Edison.

George Metesky was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial and commmitted to a psychiatric facility. He was released in 1973, and died in 1994 at the age of 90. Check out
George Metesky: New York's Mad Bomber for more details.

Previously on Slavs of New York:
Croatian terrorists...in New York?

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