LINCOLN, Mont., April 3 -- A middle-aged, former university math professor was taken into custody Wednesday on suspicion of being the infamous UNABOMber, who has killed three people and wounded 23 in a 17- year mail bombing campaign of terror. Authorities reportedly had been tipped to Theodore Kaczynski, 53, by a relative and the FBI has had his cabin on Stemple Pass, located on the road connecting Helena and Lincoln, Mont., under surveillance for some time. Agents also searched Kaczynski's parents home in suburban Chicago, finding what was reports have termed was 'the strongest evidence yet' in the case that has baffled the FBI for years. Authorities said they took Kaczynski into custody after he refused to allow agents, armed with a search warrant, to enter his home. He had not been charged with any crime, authorities added. Neighbors described Kaczynski as a 'hermit' who lived in an isolated cabin in a remote area outside of Lincoln, a fishing, hunting and snowmobiling resort town in the mountains. Beverly Coleman said he was a 'very nice man' who was quiet and did not own a car, traveling the 4 miles between his cabin and Lincoln on a bicycle down an often muddy or snowy single lane, unpaved road. Neighbors said Kaczynski spent a lot of time in the library and that his cabin had no electricity or phone. Kaczynski is suspected of being the man whose hatred of the computer age drove him to carefully handcraft, wooden bombs and then send them in the mail wrapped in plain brown paper.
The Harvard guaduate's stint as a math professor at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1967-69 came years before the UNABOMber began targeting professors across the country. Kaczynski reportedly resigned from the faculty saying he had tired of teaching. The bomber's proclivity for sending bombs to professors and airlines earned him the FBI's acronym of UNABOMber for UNiversity and Airline BOMber. The UNABOMber's reign of terror fell into a dormant period last fall after both the Washington Post and New York Times gave in to his demand that they publish his rambling 35,000-word word indictment of modern society, 'Industrial Society and Its Future.' But before the lull, the UNABOMber's attack came on an intermittent basis ever since the first bomb exploded in May 25, 1978, at the University of Illinois, Chicago, injuring one person. Evidence, including postmarks that survived the explosions, always seemed to point to northern California as being the UNABOMber's home base. FBI agents conducted exhaustive searches of pattern shops in San Francisco area and also of environmental groups in northern California last year. The FBI also focused its efforts on Chicago, after leads led them to a high school there and Northwestern University. Since 1978, the UNABOMber has mailed or placed at least 16 bombs in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Utah and New Jersey. Despite an intensive effort by the FBI and a $1 million reward, the serial bomber remained at large and unidentified. In June 1995, a letter confirmed to be from the UNABOMber claimed that he planned to blow up a plane leaving Los Angeles International Airport. The threat triggered months of heavy security at all California airports. He later wrote another letter saying he was just kidding. A hotline established last year, received more than 40,000 phone tips, but until Wednesday's arrest it appeared federal agents could not track down the elusive bomber. The most recent attack of the UNABOMber took place in April 1995 when timber industry lobbyist Gilbert Murray was killed by a package bomb at his office in Sacramento, Calif. On the same day as the bombing, the UNABOMber mailed a letter from Oakland to the New York Times claiming responsibility for the attack.