On this day in 1940, George Metesky planted his first bomb in an office of Consolidated Edison. He was know as “the mad bomber.” Over the course of 16 years, he planted 33 bombs — 22 exploded. In total, 15 people were injured but none were killed. Generally, he placed warning calls to the facilities where he planted the bombs. But it did have a terrorizing effect on the people of New York City.
In the 1930s, he worked for Consolidated Edison. He was involved in an accident that made him disabled. After 26 weeks of sick pay, the company fired him. He screwed up and filed too late to get workers’ compensation. All of his appeals were denied. He developed a great hatred for the company.
His bombs were very simple: pipe bombs. The first two were duds. That may have been intentional. At the start of World War II, he sent the police a note saying that he would not plant any more bombs for the duration of the war because of his patriotic feelings. But that afterwards, he would bring Con Edison to justice for their “dastardly deeds.” He planted no more bombs until 1951. He was finally captured in 1957.
He was declared a paranoid schizophrenic and placed in the Matteawan Hospital for the Criminally Insane. But because of some legal technicalities, he was released in 1973. At that time, he told a reporter, “I wrote 900 letters to the Mayor, to the Police Commissioner, to the newspapers, and I never even got a penny postcard back. Then I went to the newspapers to try to buy advertising space, but all of them turned me down. I was compelled to bring my story to the public.”
He lived in peace for another 20 years — dying at the age of 90 in 1994.