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Disclaimer:
The LAPDonline.org® website has made reasonable efforts to provide an accurate translation. However, no automated or computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace human or traditional translation methods. The official text is the English version of the LAPDonline.org® website. If any questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information presented by the translated version of the website, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

 

News Release
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Media Relations
   
   
Personal Security VIII

 

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department would like to provide the people of Los Angeles with the following information regarding three letters provided to the Department by the Federal Government regarding three anthrax-filled letters found in Trenton New Jersey in early September and October.

The information is provided in hopes that someone in Los Angeles may recognize the modus operandi of the author of these letters and provide the LAPD or Federal Government with information which could lead to the apprehension of the criminal author.

Previous high profile investigations conducted by the FBI involving writings were solved with the help of the public in identifying the author by either how he wrote, or what he wrote. We are asking for the public's help here again in the same way.

Should anyone have information which might be useful in identifying the author of these letters, they are urged to call the Los Angeles Police Department’s Detective Information Desk at 1-877 LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).

Letter 1

  • Transmittal envelope and one page letter: Both handwritten

  • Addressed to "NBC TV – Tom Brokaw"

  • No Return Address.

  • Postmarked Trenton, NJ 09/18/2001 (Tues.)

Letter 2

  • Transmittal envelope and one page letter: Both handwritten

  • Addressed to "NY Post"

  • No Return Address.

  • Postmarked Trenton, NJ 09/18/2001 (Tues.)

Letter 3

  • Transmittal envelope and one page letter: Both handwritten

  • Addressed to "Senator Daschle – 509 Hart Senate Office Building"

  • Return Address – 4th Grade, Greendale School, Franklin Park, NJ

  • Return address zip code - "08852"

  • Postmarked Trenton, NJ 10/09/2001 (Tues.)

LINGUISTIC ASSESSMENT OF THE 3 LETTERS

Currently, investigators believe that all three letters were authored by the same person. Letters 1 and 2 are identical; however; Letter 3 although similar, contains a somewhat different message than the other two letters. In addition, the anthrax found in Letter 3 was much more refined, potent, and more easily disbursed than the anthrax found in letters 1 and 2.

While the text in these letters is limited, there are certain distinctive characteristics evident within the writing style of the author. They may have been used in other letters, greeting cards, or envelopes written by him. Perhaps someone has received a letter or card from this person and will recognize some of the following characteristics.

Those examples include:

  • The author uses dashes ("-") in the writing of the date "09-11-01." Many people use the slash ("/") to separate the day/month/year.

  • In writing the number one, the author choose to use a formalized, more detailed version. He writes it as "1" instead of the simple vertical line instead of a simple vertical line.

  • The author uses the words "can not," when many people prefer to spell it as one non-hyphenated word: "cannot."

  • The author writes in all upper case block-style letters. The first letter of the first word of each sentence is written in slightly larger upper case lettering, as is the first letter of all proper nouns. This is his way of indicating capitalization in upper case lettering. The author may be uncomfortable or unpracticed in use of lower case writing.

  • The names and address on each envelope is noticeably tilted on a downward slant from left to right. This may be a characteristic seen on other envelopes he has sent.

  • The envelopes are of the pre-stamped variety. The stamps denoting 34 cents, which are normally available directly from the post office. The envelopes used are the smaller 6 1/4" by 3 1/2" size and not traditional business size envelopes.

BEHAVIORIAL ASSESSMENT OF THE AUTHOR

Based on the selection of Anthrax as the "weapon" of choice by this individual, the offender:

  • is an adult male.

  • If employed, he is likely to be in a position requiring little contact with the public or other employees. He may work in a laboratory, and is apparently comfortable working with extremely hazardous materials. He probably has a scientific background, or at least a strong interest in science.

  • has likely taken appropriate protective steps to ensure his own safety, which may include the use of an Anthrax vaccination or antibiotics.

  • has access to a source of Anthrax and possesses knowledge and expertise to refine it.

  • possess or has access to some laboratory equipment, i.e., microscope, glassware, centrifuge, etc.

  • has exhibited an organized, rational thought process in furtherance of his criminal behavior.

  • has a familiarity, direct or indirect, with the Trenton, NJ. Metropolitan area, however, this does not necessary mean he currently lives in the Trenton NJ area. He is comfortable traveling in and around this location.

  • did not select victims randomly. He made an effort to identify the correct address, including zip code, of each victim and used sufficient postage to ensure proper delivery of the letters. The offender deliberately "selected" NBC News, the New York Post, and the office of Senator Tom Daschle as the targeted victims (and possibly AMI in Florida). These targets are probably very important to the offender. They may have been the focus of previous expressions of contempt, which may have been communicated to others, or observed by others.

  • is a non-confrontational person, at least in his public life. He lacks the personal skills necessary to confront others. He chooses to confront his problems "long distance" and not face-to-face. He may hold grudges for a long time, vowing that he will get even with "them" one day. There are probably other, earlier examples of this type of behavior. While these earlier incidents were not actual Anthrax mailing, he may have chosen to anonymously harass other individuals or entities that he perceived as having wronged him. He may also have chosen to utilize the mail on those occasions.

  • prefers being by himself more often that not. If he is involved in a personal relationship it will likely be of a self-serving nature.

Pre-Offensive Behavior

Following the events of September 11, 2001, this person may have become mission oriented in his desire to undertake these Anthrax mailing. He may have become more secretive and exhibited an unusual pattern of activity. Additionally, he may have displayed a passive disinterest in the events which otherwise captivated the Nation. He also may have started taking antibiotics unexpectedly.

Post Offense Behavior

He may have exhibited significant behavioral changes at various critical periods of time throughout the course of the Anthrax mailings and related media coverage. These may include the following;

A. altered physical appearance

B. pronounced anxiety

C. atypical media interest

D. noticeable mood swings

E. more withdrawn

F. unusual level of preoccupation

G. unusual absenteeism

H. altered sleeping and/or eating habits

These post offense behaviors would have been most noticeable during critical times, including but not limited to: the mailings of the letters (09/18/01 and 10/09/01) the death of first Anthrax victim, media reports of each anthrax incident, and especially the deaths and illnesses of non-targeted victims.

This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.



     
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