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FBI Accepts New Evidence in 46-Year-Old D.B. Cooper Case (dailymail.co.uk) 123

An anonymous reader quotes the Daily Mail: The FBI is looking at an 'odd bit of buried foam' as possible evidence in the cold case investigation into criminal mastermind D.B. Cooper, according to private investigators. The potential evidence was handed over to authorities last week by the team of sleuths who believe the foam made up a part of Cooper's parachute backpack, the New York Daily News reports. Cooper, one of the 20th century's most compelling masterminds, hijacked a Boeing 727 at Seattle-Tacoma airport in 1971 and held its crew and passengers hostage with a bomb. Once his demand of $200,000 cash -- the equivalent of $1,213,226 today -- was reached and transferred onto the plane, Cooper had the crew take off before he parachuted out over the dense Pacific Northwest woods and disappeared.

The discovery of the foam comes just weeks after the FBI uncovered what is believed to be part of Cooper's parachute strap, which private investigators claim could lead authorities to his stolen fortune. In addition, the FBI also received three 'unknown' pieces of fabric that were found close to where the alleged parachute strap was located.

The 40-member cold case team is being overseen by a former FBI supervisor. At one point they essentially crowdsourced the investigation by requesting help from the general public, and the team now says they've found a credible source -- providing information substantiated by FBI field notes -- which has led them to this new evidence.
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FBI Accepts New Evidence in 46-Year-Old D.B. Cooper Case

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  • by chuckugly ( 2030942 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @04:46PM (#55053473)
    Imagine what all that cash will be worth now with all that interest over the years.
    • Imagine what all that cash will be worth now with all that interest over the years.

      Imagine what all that cash would be worth if the Fed had not been on a money printing binge for the last...well, I don't remember when they haven't been on a money printing binge.

      If you wonder what I mean by "money printing binge" then look up "quantitative easing".

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @05:49PM (#55053707)

        If you wonder what I mean by "money printing binge" then look up "quantitative easing".

        I'd rather look at the current inflation rate of 1.7%, below the Fed target, and way way below what the monetary hawks predicted. QE was the reason 2009 wasn't 1931 all over again.

        • QE was the reason 2009 wasn't 1931 all over again.

          I understand QE and what is meant to do. I question whether doing it for basically 5+ years was the right thing.

          • I question whether doing it for basically 5+ years was the right thing.

            The downside to QE is high inflation, which didn't happen. So I question why you question it. While America was doing QE, the Euro Zone was doing austerity. The recession there was deeper and longer, and they still have an unemployment rate nearly double America's.

            • Some people think the economy is a morality play. And simply printing a lot of money is considered to be bad even if nothing bad comes of it.

            • by r0kk3rz ( 825106 )

              I question whether doing it for basically 5+ years was the right thing.

              The downside to QE is high inflation, which didn't happen. So I question why you question it. While America was doing QE, the Euro Zone was doing austerity. The recession there was deeper and longer, and they still have an unemployment rate nearly double America's.

              This is what puzzles me, conventional wisdom states that printing money like that should result in skyrocketing inflation, which obviously didn't happen and many countries doing it are still fighting deflation.

              So what gives? Are tax havens really sequestering that much supply from the market? Is the money printed not making it into the general supply and just padding bank profits?

            • It did happen. The inflation didn't take the form of additional cash in the stream, it took the form of debt erasure. Not even the base amounts of the debt but billions in erased outstanding interest. It is much harder to see but if you think erasing billions of dollars in interest from the books isn't going to have an impact.

              Also, the way the inflation rate is calculated was deliberately changed to hide inflation from mortgage interest erasure.
          • I understand QE and what is meant to do. I question whether doing it for basically 5+ years was the right thing.

            Think of it this way. In the 2000s a bunch of money was "created". Around 2008 we realized that money was created fraudulently and didn't really exist. There was suddenly a contraction in the money supply. The Federal Reserve responded by creating more money. However, there is a limit to how fast The Fed can create money, so it took 5 years.

        • Using the same method of calculation as used up until 1990, it is actually about 5%. Of course, that's when a half gallon of ice cream was still half a gallon, and things like chocolate chips and sausage came by the pound, not 12 ounces. Smaller packages at the same price now, however, are not considered inflation - they judge by the price of the "typical size" of the item purchased, not per-ounce. And given that housing prices since 2013 have increased about 5% per year, and rent has followed, statistic
    • "All that interest"? I though the public has *lost* interest in this since then.
      • "All that interest"? I though the public has *lost* interest in this since then.

        You are correct. He's just sensationalizing. The money was probably all gone after DB spent a week in vegas... or a weekend in New York.

    • The FBI screwed up when they didn't give him 2 million dollars! Just think what that would be worth today!
  • Last year the fact that the FBI had closed the case made headlines, and now there are 40 people working on it?

    https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us... [fbi.gov]

    OK, looking at the press release, the "redirected" "resources", I suppose the FBI only officially closes a case when the perp is caught...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Last year the fact that the FBI had closed the case made headlines, and now there are 40 people working on it?

      The summary isn't clear, but they aren't FBI employees, the "40 member" team is just people who have signed up for this one effort [dbcooper.com], probably by chipping in some cash.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    when a man could just purchase a ticket with bills, and hop on the plane, without having to even give his real name. These days, if you're taking the plane in America, you will be treated as a terrorist.

    (And yes, I do remember the time when two planes took down three buildings, the last of which went from structurally intact into a pile of rubble in its own footprint, in a 7 second free-fall due to some fires on the second floor.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Still like that in Europe. You can generally hop on a plane anywhere in a shengen country and take a flight to any other without showing ID. Home of the free.

      • Still like that in Europe. You can generally hop on a plane anywhere in a shengen country and take a flight to any other without showing ID. Home of the free.

        And drive across the border without stopping.

      • Really? Because when I connected through Amsterdam last month to Hamburg EU passport holders still had to go through an automated ID check. They didn't do passport control, but they didn't just walk through either.
      • Seriously not true. I cannot speak for all countries, but I know from experience that the countries I've used airports in, all required ID to get past security screening. These include Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy. You're not getting on a pane without official ID.

      • by Gryle ( 933382 )
        Not quite true. While the Schengen Zone largely eliminates visa & passport controls between member-nations, airlines still require a form of ID when checking in and boarding the plane.* You can generally cross borders via rail or automobile without issue, but recently Austria & Germany have instituted temporary border controls, to include random** spot checks of passports.

        *Source: I've flown between the UK, Italy, Germany, Finland, Malta, Greece, and Portugal multiple times in the last 18 months.
        **
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It didn't fall in free fall speed. It didn't fall in its own footprint. And it wasn't structurally intact. Apart from that everything you said is correct.

  • Is this really the priority for the FBI? Is there no current crime to pursue? Or is this evidence that the fall in the crime rate in recent years has left the FBI without enough to do?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Not sure we want the FBI deciding that some cases aren't worth the effort. Any open case should be investigated whenever possible.

      • Given that there isn't enough money to investigate every case to the nth degree, someone has to make decisions about what is to be the priority. Who can that be if it is not the FBI itself? The only alternative would appear to be a political appointee - which seems worse.

        • Given that there isn't enough money to investigate every case to the nth degree, someone has to make decisions about what is to be the priority. Who can that be if it is not the FBI itself? The only alternative would appear to be a political appointee - which seems worse.

          You could have the investigative agency need to get a court to sign off on closing a case, for example. You could also have priorities allocated by a committee that includes some people (whether voting or non-voting) from outside the FBI. Like maybe a citizen representative, or a victim representatives, or someone from DOJ outside the FBI, or a local law enforcement representative. For any large organization, there's more than one way you could reasonably set priorities, but you need to figure that out in t

          • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
            You'd just be distancing and obfuscating the problem. Any committee would end up being some desirable position to have; people would start backroom dealing to be on the committee, wherein they could then be bought and sold, just like most politicians already are. It's a nice idea, though. Of course, it's a nice idea when an agency would know when to give up expending tax payer dollars. But Cooper is a high profile case, so someone must think the press is good.
      • Every law enforcement organization does that every day.
      • I say let 'em go for it. Every man-hour spent chasing dead robbers, is a man-hour not spent oppressing live dissidents.

  • Conspiracy theories aside, the evidence points to him being killed when he bailed out of the plane. Some mastermind.
    • Conspiracy theories aside, the evidence points to him being killed when he bailed out of the plane. Some mastermind.

      That's what she wants you to think.

    • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @05:49PM (#55053705)

      Conspiracy theories aside, the evidence points to him being killed when he bailed out of the plane. Some mastermind.

      I still wonder about this. The amount of money he demanded ($200,000) seems like it was meant to be large enough to seem like a real demand, but small enough that it could be assembled fairly quickly. I cannot imagine that his real plan was to live out the the rest of his life on that sum, at least not anywhere near civilization. Even 45 years ago I don't think anyone could reasonably expect to live a few decades on that amount.

      He likely would have been smart enough to know that every serial number of every bill he was handed would have been recorded. I suspect that the $200,000 was intentionally a red herring and that he quickly disposed of it, knowing that considerable effort would be expended looking for those bills. If I had to guess, I would think that he probably had some other loot already (probably much more than $200,000) somewhere else that was intended to be his real nest egg.

      Of course, if what you say about him being killed shortly after leaving the plane then it is sort of moot.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2017 @07:46PM (#55054111)

        There's an implicit assumption that Cooper jumped at 8:13 PM, when the aft stairs of the plane opened. Cooper failed to answer that time, but that doesn't prove he left the plane. The tail of the plane moved upward requiring the pilot to compensate, but that doesn't prove Cooper jumped then, either. Turbulence from the weather could have produced the same effect. The crew didn't open the cockpit door until arriving in Reno. If Cooper had jumped at 8:13 PM, that places the plane over southwest Washington, and bills were later found downstream of Vancouver, WA along Tina Bar. It's assumed that the bills had washed up there after ending up in a tributary of the Columbia River. Even if the bills fell out of the plane at the same time Cooper jumped, it simply shows that it occurred somewhere within the Columbia River basin. It could have been as far south as central Oregon. Nobody knows when Cooper left the plane except that it occurred after 8:13 PM and before landing in Reno. There are also a lot of questions about how the bills got to Tina Bar, when they arrived, why three packs of bills remained together while getting separated from the others, and why a few of the bills were missing.

        The weather was bad over southwest Washington but improved to the south. Even Salem, OR was dry a bit earlier in the evening and a little warmer, as per the upper air data. The bills could as easily have been transported by the Willamette River or another tributary or the Columbia River and have landed in Oregon rather than Washington. Had Cooper jumped a bit later than what is generally assumed, which is entirely possible given the evidence, it would have been far easier for him to survive the jump.

        Rather than making a hasty jump into bad weather over Washington, it's entirely possible that Cooper waited until the weather cleared before jumping. I propose that Cooper jumped over an area to the south that wasn't cloudy, where he could have more easily seen the ground, avoided rain, and would have faced a much lower risk of death due to exposure.

        This relies on the chance that turbulence caused the tail of the plane to suddenly move upward shortly after the aft stairs were lowered. This isn't implausible when considering that the flight was in poor weather over complex terrain. Cooper pretended he wanted to go to Mexico City while obviously planning to jump. He ordered the flight crew into the cockpit, even though the threat of a bomb had ensured their cooperation to that point and the crew had no incentive to take additional risks. It is quite possible that the crew was ordered into the cockpit precisely so they couldn't see when he jumped. There would have been no incentive to make a hasty jump into poor weather when he could have jumped at any point between Seattle and Reno. Admittedly, Cooper made poor choices regarding his choice of parachutes, but every other detail was carefully planned, and that might include misleading the crew as to when and where he left the plane.

        I know, it's a bit if a fringe theory, but hopefully way more interesting than the posts whining about tax dollars.

      • None of what you said makes any sense.

        The amount of money he demanded ($200,000) seems like it was meant to be large enough to seem like a real demand, but small enough that it could be assembled fairly quickly. I cannot imagine that his real plan was to live out the the rest of his life on that sum

        As the blurb stated, that was $1,213,226 in today's dollars. That would last a normal person a few decades. Who said anything about living out the rest of his life on that money? It's a very big chunk of money, and represents $200k he got instantly for free without working for it. People commit crimes more serious (killing people) for far, far, far less money than that.

        I suspect that the $200,000 was intentionally a red herring and that he quickly disposed of it, knowing that considerable effort would be expended looking for those bills. If I had to guess, I would think that he probably had some other loot already (probably much more than $200,000) somewhere else that was intended to be his real nest egg.

        So in other words you're saying this was a very rich guy (a multimillionaire in today's dollars) who

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        $200,000 would be enough to live comfortably and start a good life in somewhere like South America around that time. Quite a few criminals went that route with similar or even smaller amounts of cash and did quite well out of it, as long as they used it to set themselves up rather than just spending it.

        I guess the issue there is that if he had used it to start a new life, you would think there might be some evidence of a foreigner suddenly arriving with a large amount of USD in cash. Then again, back then r

  • I don't see the fuss over tax money spent on the investigation. It's one person cataloging efforts from interested citizens. It's a mystery that can provide new investigation techniques for future crimes even if it results in nothing.

    I would have more of a problem if they found the guy and decided to waste money in prosecuting after all this time.

    The FBI "claims" that no other money in the case was ever found other than beside that river ten years later. Not sure if I believe them. But there are many ways

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Interesting XKCD picture here [xkcd.com].

  • by pesho ( 843750 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @09:34AM (#55056339)
    I bet you FBI has never heard of this evidence, let alone accepted it. This is a guy selling his book. The sources are The Daily mail and NY Daily, both known for their responsible reporting of the facts.

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