FBI expert has clue to Mardi Gra identity

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THE CRIMINOLOGIST who successfully compiled an offender profile of the American "Unabomber" believes the Mardi Gra terrorist, who has been responsible for a series of explosions in London, is likely to switch targets soon and will not stop even if he is paid extortion money.

Dr Bill Tafoya, a former FBI officer, also provided yesterday a description of the man he believes is behind the British bombings. He thinks he is probably in his mid 30s, feels undervalued, lives in London, has a boring job, and is motivated by attention. He believes Sainsbury's and Barclays Bank are being targeted, not for money, but because Mardi Gra thinks he was badly treated as a customer and bears a grudge.

It took the FBI nearly 20 years to capture the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, who sent or delivered bombs that killed three people and injured two others. Kaczynski, 54, was jailed for life this year after the former mathematician and Harvard graduate was tracked down in 1996 to a cabin in Montana, following a tip off by his brother.

Dr Tafoya, who appeared yesterday at a conference in Manchester organised by the National Criminal Intelligence Service, said he thought the Mardi Gra bomber, who has detonated 34 small bullet devices in the past four years, was "dramatically different" to Kaczynski. "He is nowhere near as sophisticated," he said.

He told The Independent: "He is looking for attention, not money - that does not interest him. He has almost certainly got a scrapbook with all the reports of what he has done. Getting money will not stop him.

"I think he will go for a different target soon. It could be some other organisation that he thinks has harmed him."

He added: "Mardi Gra may have been insulted by a checkout girl or a bag boy. He may have bought a bad chicken from Sainsbury - it could be that simple. He probably feels undervalued for his hard work and has a paranoia about someone trying to do him harm or insulting him."

The bombs, the latest of which was exploded in a plastic bag near a Sainsbury store in south-east London on Tuesday, are simply made and suggest the maker has a "menial job" such as caretaker or office worker, said Dr Tafoya.

The type of device used, which were first targeted against Barclays bank in 1994, also suggest the bomber may be a former military man or engineer, alternatively he may have belonged to a gun club, he added. He is likely to feel that he has "not got his just reward from life", probably dresses in a boring manner and does not look out of place in some of the poorer districts of London, Dr Tafoya believes.

Asked how police should best proceed to catch the bomber, he said they could re-examine the first few bombing incidents when he is mostly likely to have made mistakes. "They should look at them upside down and backwards."

Dr Tafoya noted that the FBI had ignored the offender profile of the Unabomber, which later proved to be accurate in several key areas.