December 2, 1956 | The Mad Bomber

 The Mad Bomber, George Metesky, looking cheerful upon his arrest in 1957.

“I want you to instruct each member of your force to make every effort to ascertain and identify the perpetrator of these outrages. Alert every member of the force, regardless of assignment, of the necessity of making an apprehension. The man is not in his right mind.”
                                          NY Police Commissioner Stephen P. Kennedy, December 2, 1956

The Mad Bomber, as the papers and police titled him, had been planting bombs in New York City for almost 16 years, but, in 1956, the bombings became deadlier and more frequent. After 22 bombings resulting in 15 injuries, Police Commissioner Kennedy called for “the greatest manhunt in the history of the Police Department.” Detectives consulted with criminologist/psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussels, to create what was essentially one of the earliest criminal profiles. Dr. Brussels’ profile indicated that the Bomber would be male, 40-50 years old, living in the suburbs, intelligent but without a college education, possibly Slavic, and that when he was caught, he would be wearing a double-breasted suit, buttoned.

A month later, an employee at Con Edison linked the language in the Bomber’s letters posted in the Journal-American to a disgruntled former employee—George Metesky. Metesky was wearing a double-breasted suit, buttoned, when he was arrested by the police. Brussels prediction that the Bomber was suffering from paranoid delusions also proved true. Metesky was deemed mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial. He was committed to a hospital for the criminally insane, from which he was discharged in 1973. After his release, Metesky lived quietly to the age of 90.