Austin bombings: Suspect caught much more quickly than the Unabomber, other serial bombers

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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A suspect connected to the serial bombings in Austin was surrounded by police and blew himself up three weeks after the first explosion. Here's a look at past serial bombers, including the Unabomber.

A suspect connected to the serial bombings in Austin was surrounded by police and blew himself up on Wednesday, three weeks after the first explosion.

He was caught just a day after former FBI agent Dennis Franks said authorities were on the verge of figuring him out.

"I tend to think at some point there's going to be a slip up or someone is going to have sufficient information to provide to lead us to the culprit," he said Tuesday.

Franks and other experts have compared this man to past serial bombers, including the Unabomber. Compared with famous bombers in history, investigators were able to catch this suspect relatively quickly.

Austin bomber

Two people were killed over the course of 18 days, during which there were five explosions. The suspect, a 24-year-old white male, blew himself up in a car as a SWAT team moved in early on the morning of March 21.

The suspect was Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville, Texas, the Associated Press reported. No motive has been determined.


Ted Kaczynski, who became known as the "Unabomber," was a serial bomber who acted for 18 years before his brother and sister-in-law figured him out and told authorities.

Three people were killed and 23 others were injured from 16 bombs that were either mailed or placed, according to ABC News. His targets included universities and airlines, which led the FBI to begin referring to him as the "Unabomber."

His brother said that Kaczynski withdrew from the world after he began teaching math at U.C. Berkley, and he wrote "very hostile, angry, resentful letters to our parents." His brother said the family believed he had some kind of mental illness.

"It's pretty clear that by the time he was a graduate student at the University of Michigan, he was suffering from some pretty serious delusions. He stopped going to classes. He would be in his room. He was having delusions that people were laughing about him or making fun of him, or plotting against him," David Kaczynski told ABC News.

Ted Kaczynski was caught in 1995 and put on trial in California. He was given a life sentence without parole, rather than the death sentence, in exchange for pleading guilty.

Olympics bomber

Eric Rudolph was caught in 2003 after a five-year manhunt. He was suspected of setting off four bombs over the course of two years, including at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The bombs killed two people and injured hundreds.

According to his FBI profile, he was motivated by "biases and prejudices."

"He clearly was anti-government and anti-abortion, anti-gay, 'anti' a lot of things," said former FBI executive Chris Swecker.

Rudolph pleaded guilty and was given multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.

"The Mad Bomber"

This bomber was suspected to be behind at least 33 bombs in the 1940s and 1950s. His bombs, which were placed all over New York City, caused more than a dozen injuries but no deaths, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. The Mad Bomber, whose real name was George Metesky, is believed to have been motivated by a denied worker's compensation claim after he was injured on the job.

Metesky confessed when police came to his house to question him in 1957, more than 16 years after the first bomb was planted.

He was deemed incompetent to stand trial and sent to an insane asylum. He was released in 1973 and died in 1994.

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