Retired FBI agent recalls crucial Ann Arbor connection that helped nab the Unabomber

Sep 12, 2017
Originally published on September 11, 2017 4:50 pm

The Unabomber was one of America's most notorious outlaws of the 20th Century. And he may have never been caught if it weren't for a little help from here in Michigan.

Premiering this past August on the Discovery Channel, the new show "Manhunt: Unabomber" recreates the efforts by law enforcement to apprehend one of the country's most wanted men at the time.

From 1978 to 1995, someone mailed or hand-delivered a series of bombs. Three people were killed and 23 others were hurt.

18 years of fear ended on April 3, 1996. That’s when FBI agents swarmed a remote cabin in Montana and arrested Theodore Kaczynski.

Retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal was based in Ann Arbor. He helped the massive effort to find the Unabomber by snagging a crucial piece of information from the University of Michigan.​

“One of the most frustrating aspects for this long investigation was that it was difficult to find a common theme,” recalls Stejskal, who was the case agent for Kaczynski’s 1985 bombing in Ann Arbor, which targeted a psychology professor.

When a supervisor informed him that the Unabomber had likely attended the University of Michigan, Stejskal contacted the assistant director of the Division of Public Safety at the school for help. The next morning, Stejskal heard back: Ted Kaczynski.

Stejskal remembers the words his supervisor told him: “At this point in time, you and I are the only ones who know who the Unabomber is, and you can’t tell anyone.”

Listen above.

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