1972 FBI sketch of D.B. Cooper (Credit: FBI)
by Devin Brown
D.B. Cooper captivated the world in 1971 when he eluded the FBI by jumping out of Northwest Orient Flight 305 carrying a parachute and around $200,000 in stolen money — and managing to stay hidden for 40 years.
Back in 2007 the FBI brought the case back to life, and now four years later, they are saying they have some new evidence that could bring the mysterious Cooper to justice. The Telegraph in London was the first to break the news of a “promising lead” in the cold case, leading to renewed online interest in this case.
The Cooper incident is the only unsolved airplane hijacking in American history, and the details have become the stuff of urban legend, thanks to the sexy story complete with a sophisticated leading man of mystery, action and intrigue. A man who was going by the name of Dan Cooper bought a ticket to Seattle in 1971 the day before Thanksgiving. He was described as a mid-40’s gentleman who channeled Johnny Cash with his black raincoat, a dark suit with a white shirt and a black necktie (I mean, how suave can you get?).
Once on the aircraft he ordered himself whiskey and lit a cigarette. He called over the stewardess and passed her a note. The note read in all capitals: “I have a bomb in my briefcase. I will use it if necessary. I want you to sit next to me. You are being hijacked.”
When the plane landed, the ransom money he acquired, parachute and Cooper were no longer on board. Somewhere over the lower Cascade mountains in southwestern Washington, the con man strapped on a parachute, grabbed his cash and jumped out of the aircraft.
It may be that cigarette that Cooper calmly lit and a tie he took off that may be his undoing. The FBI is testing the ashtray and butts for DNA and fingerprint evidence, in addition to following a tip from a law enforcement officer. Sandolo Dietrich told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Saturday, “With any lead our first step is to assess how credible it is. Having this come through another law enforcement, having looked it over once we got it – it seems pretty interesting.”
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And while the authorities aren’t necessarily on the verge of cracking the Cooper case, it does bring them closer than they have ever been. It will be interesting to see if the FBI can finally take the mysterious Cooper into custody, although the story as is is good enough for What’s Trending. No one commits crime with any class nowadays.