the one who threw the whole of Italy into panic

the one who threw the whole of Italy into panic
the one who threw the whole of Italy into panic
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Who was the mysterious author of the bomb attacks with bombs that injured dozens of people? Where did he get the explosives?

In the 1990s and early 2000s, two Italian regions, Veneto and Friuli, were strewn with bombs. Explosive devices were left everywhere, on the street and in places open to the public: on beaches, in churches, in cemeteries, in supermarkets, on the streets and next to waste bins. These were well-disguised devices, and they were extremely dangerous, because they were placed inside objects of common use, such as bottles or packages of food products. Those treacherous hidden bombs were designed to suddenly explode on anyone who came near and touched them. Thus they left devastating injuries and impairments to numerous victims. In the 34 attacks carried out by the mysterious criminal, many people lost their hands and eyes and suffered serious permanent disabilities. Unfortunately, among the victims of Unabomber there were several children involved in the sudden explosions. People weren’t sure anymore because there was a risk that everything they touched could burst.

Who was responsible for these crimes? The person does not yet have a face and a name, but has a nickname: Unabomber, the one who threw the whole of Italy into panic. It was the press that gave him this sad appellation, in analogy with a famous similar case that took place a few decades earlier in the United States, which had a crazy terrorist, Theodore Kaczynski as its protagonist: he sent bomb packages that exploded at the moment of opening. It is not easy to catch a criminal who moves with irrationality and hits randomly: the American Unabomber has been wanted for 18 years, putting the FBI in serious difficulty, which had put a million dollar bounty on him. He was eventually identified thanks to revelations from his family members.

Unabomber: who was he and what did he do?

Returning toItalian unabomber, the investigative findings indicate that he has always acted alone and without accomplices. His criminological profile is complicated to reconstruct. He is not a terrorist, because he did not have a political motive; he was not a man eager to appear, because he never vindicated his gestures; but he was not even considered a serial killer, because he did not want to kill (even if he did it at the cost of doing so), but only seriously injure those who came in contact with his devices, and leave him permanent injuries.

Surely, Unabomber was animated by a generalized hatred and a violent and widespread rancor towards the entire population. Furthermore, he hit sporadically and on a vast territory, which included two Italian regions, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, even if his action was more intense in the territories of Pordenone and Portogruaro.

The bomb attacks performed by Unabomber were more frequent on holidays and during the summer season, but did not leave out some winter events, such as Carnival. There was also a two-year hiatus in his business, between 1997 and 1999; but even this prolonged absence did not help the investigators to identify him.

Unabomber: how did it act?

The mysterious Unabomber was definitely a explosives expert: his ordnance they have always been prepared with care and in a workmanlike manner, both in the use of materials and in the construction of the traps. The devices were cleverly designed and built, hiding inside objects of various types and of common use; this also proves considerable criminal creativity. The bombs they were designed to explode upon opening the package, or even by simple contact or touch; it was enough to take them in hand to trigger the explosion of the explosive charge contained inside.

The device with which Unabomber made his debut was a rudimentary one tube-bomb: these were normal plumbing pipes, capped at the ends and filled with explosive materials easy to find on the market, such as gunpowder present in fireworks, the gunpowder hunting cartridges and some herbicides and fertilizers commonly used in agriculture. Later, Unabomber also came to use chemicals that are very difficult to handle, such as nitroglycerin: a substance that requires special experience and attention as it explodes very easily.

Over time, the techniques used by Unabomber have become even more ingenious and sophisticated: the methods created to hide the explosives were always different, with many variations, up to very small objects, which could be held in one hand and confused with harmless products. This did not help the identification of the maker of these terrible bombs, who always found new solutions to hide his devices in unsuspected places, in order to make them more and more insidious and to involve a greater number of victims.

Unabomber: the most serious explosions

Many victims explosions of the bombs created by Unabomber remain mutilated or blind. An elderly woman who had picked up a bomb tube on the street was seriously injured. The same happened a few years later to a pensioner who had picked up an abandoned device on the beach: it exploded in his face and sent him into a coma. The most striking episode took place on the beach of Lignano Sabbiadoro in 1996: Unabomber had placed the bomb inside an umbrella. When a bather picked it up, the bomb exploded; the man lost a hand and risked his life because the explosion had severed his femoral artery.

The cruelty of Unabomber did not spare even the children, who, indeed, were among his favorite victims: once, during the Carnival celebrations, he inserted a device into a pack of streamers. Fortunately, he remained unexploded. A nine-year-old girl had found a highlighter pen; when she opened it, it burst, severely damaging her hands and eyes. Another child, however, was injured by the detonation of a tube of soap bubbles.

Unabomber: how it hit in supermarkets

Unabomber had come to insert the explosives even in the packaging of the Kinder eggs surprise. In the early 2000s, Unabomber started hitting on supermarkets, hiding the explosives inside product packages, like a tube of tomato sauce that seriously injured a woman who bought it in the hand. She fared better for another customer, who accidentally discovered the bomb inside a tube of mayonnaise, before opening it: the object was unusually hard.

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The buyer of a jar of Nutella, which as soon as it opened it exploded without hitting anyone. Unabomber had great criminal creativity: on the day of the commemoration of the dead, in 2001, he placed a large bomb in an Easter candle, seriously injuring the cemetery caretaker in the hands and eyes. A few years later, in the same area, a six-year-old girl was injured in her hands and face when lighting a votive candle filled with explosives. The bombs, in fact, were placed, apparently randomly, in any place: on the street, in shops and also in garbage bins, in public office bathrooms and in churches. In 2005, during the Christmas mass in the cathedral of Pordenone, a bomb exploded among the faithful, fortunately leaving no victims.

Unabomber: the last stage

The population, especially that of the north-east of Italy, was alarmed by the continued actions of Unabomber. She lived in terror and did not feel safe even at home because there was a risk that any product purchased by the trusted shopkeeper could explode. Masses were made sizes of several tens of thousands of euros in favor of whoever discovered the culprit; no one succeeded, and indeed Unabomber, as a challenge, struck violently in a small town on the Piave, Fagarè, where an entrepreneur had banned a bounty of 50 thousand euros to those who provided useful information to catch the criminal.

Finally, in 2006, the Unabomber stopped placing explosives around and since then there have been no more attacks. The last two of the four committed in that year had failed: a nitroglycerin bomb, placed under the seat of a bicycle, had not exploded due to the rain and a bottle ready to explode, left on a coast, had not been collected by the passersby. However, this does not mean being able to rest assured: to this day, the culprit has never been identified and, therefore, could still be in circulation. The nightmare isn’t over yet.

Unabomber: who was he and why did he act?

Unabomber’s criminal actions are unclear motive that unites them: it has acted on a very vast territory and has always struck in a fragmentary and almost casual way, targeting different population groups, from children to the elderly, without ever identifying pre-ordained victims. It was enough for him to hit random strangers. All this has significantly penalized the investigations, because a precise motive helps a lot to narrow the circle of suspects. We thought of a man who acted in isolation and who planned his crimes from time to time, without a basic strategy other than to cowardly hit anyone who handled his bombs.

Investigators have long followed the “military trail”, assuming that the perpetrator was a soldier, Italian or American, in service at the Aviano air base (the interruption of the attacks between 1996 and 1999 coincided with the period of the war in Kosovo); but no concrete evidence has ever been found.

The only certain thing is that Unabomber is a male individual, as demonstrated by the traces of DNA acquired on the finds, and has a deviant personality: according to the criminologists who dealt with the case, he is affected by paranoid and schizoid disorders and obsessive and compulsive manias. Most likely he lives in the north-east of Italy, in the large area where all his attacks are concentrated.

Unabomber: the suspects

Five public prosecutors (Pordenone, Venice, Trieste, Treviso and Udine) dealt with the Unabomber case, for the territorial jurisdiction attributed on the basis of the attacks; however, the investigations were never merged into a single center and one was not created task force specialized, but only investigative coordination. Therefore, a single information network has never been created and each investigative unit has acted on the basis of the elements collected in its own territory. Only in recent years has there been the intervention of specialized departments of the police: i Res (Scientific Investigations Department) and the Ros (Special Operational Grouping) of the Carabinieri, and the SCO (Central Operational Service) and the UACV (Violent Crime Analysis Unit) of the State Police. But despite this, the investigations never had a turning point.

The main suspect who was targeted by investigators was Elvo Zornitta, a Friulian engineer with great technical skills in the explosives sector and who habitually frequented the areas of the attacks for work reasons. However, the episodes continued even in the years in which Zornitta was investigated and closely monitored by the police: at least five were committed, and his hand was that of Unabomber, not his improbable emulators. During that time, Zornitta’s behavior had shown no anomalies and he was not attributable to the new crimes. Furthermore, the engineer had solid alibis for all the dates on which the previous attacks had been committed.

The DNA tests carried out on the findings also gave negative results: the organic material was not attributable to him. Finally, Elio Zornitta’s position was filed after the discovery by his defender, lawyer Paniz, of a sensational false committed by a policeman to frame him: the agent had altered the blades of a pair of scissors seized from Zornitta to match them with the cuts on the sheet metal of a bomb placed by Unabomber. The policeman who manipulated the evidence was definitively convicted. Meanwhile, the real Unabomber is still unknown.

The article is in Italian

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