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Encyclopedia > Mad Bomber

George Metesky (1904-1994) planted around thirty bombs in New York City from 1940 to 1956. He was known in the media as "The Mad Bomber".


He placed his first bomb on November 16, 1940 at a Manhattan office building used by Consolidated Edison. The small, poorly made pipe bomb did not explode and was discovered with a note threatening Consolidated Edison. The second device, another dud, appeared a year later. Metesky then sent a note, composed of cut-out letters and signed "F.P." (Fair play), announcing the cessation of his bombing campaign due to "patriotic feelings" for "the duration of the war." He did send a series of threatening letters to various sources in the fallow period up to his third bomb - discovered before it exploded on March 29, 1950 at Grand Central Station. His fourth device was the first to explode, planted in a telephone box in New York City Public Library. He targeted public places, notably movie theaters where he inserted his devices in the underside of seats. Most of his pipe bombs failed to explode, he planted three more devices in 1950, all duds. It was not until 1953 that a Metesky bomb caused any injuries.


His erratic and irregular campaign left the city police at a complete loss. After the December 2, 1956 bombing at a movie theater in Brooklyn, which left six people injured, the police approached Dr. James Brussel, a psychiatrist with the New York State Commission for Mental Hygiene. Brussel produced a criminal profile of the bomber. Brussel derived a number of insights from the evidence beyond those of the police - the bomber was male, unmarried, foreign (possibly a Slav), a Catholic, in his 50s, living in Connecticut, a genuine paranoiac, self-educated and suffering from an oedipal complex. Brussel also convinced the police to heavily publicise the profile, predicting it would gain a response from the bomber. The publicity, from late December, created a large number of false confessions and poor quality leads.


Consolidated Edison had undertaken several searches of its records and while examing those of the subsidiary United Electric & Power Company, in knowledge of the profile, George Metesky was uncovered. An employee from 1929-1931 who had been denied a disability pension, several of his letters were on file and there were matches in the phraseology between Metesky and F.P. and to the profile. The match was improved when Metesky actually wrote a letter to Journal American giving the date of the injuries he blamed on Consolidated Edison. Metesky was arrested in January, he confessed to being the bomber to the police on his doorstep.


Metesky was found insane and was committed to the Matteawan State Hospital. He was resistant to treatment but caused no trouble and was released in 1973.


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Brussel additionally stated that when the bomber would be caught, he would be wearing a double breasted suit, buttoned.
Metesky was arrested in January, 1957; where he confessed to being the bomber, showed his garage where he created the bombs, and revealed the meaning of "F.P." to the police.
The premise was that the bombers behavior was due to a workers compensation injustice.
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