DB Cooper is one of the most famous airplane hijackers in history.
On November 24, 1971, an unidentified man – his plane ticket actually read “Dan Cooper” – boarded a flight bound for Seattle, Washington, from Portland, Oregon.
Upon taking his seat, he passed the stewardess a note informing her he had bomb in his suitcase and demanded $200,000 cash, as well as four parachutes.
A whole thing with law enforcement ensued, but the story ended with Cooper being given the money and then jumping out the back of the plane, parachute strapped on… To never be seen or heard from again.
But now, a retired US army code-breaker reckons he’s worked out who Cooper was.
Rick Sherwood was enlisted by TV producer Tom Colbert, who had long suspected a man named Robert Rackstraw was Cooper – Rackstraw having served in the army with Sherwood.
Using his code-breaking skills on letters Cooper apparently sent the FBI after the incident, Sherwood reached the conclusion that it was indeed Rackstraw who had pulled off the daring heist, telling CBS, “If I were him, I’d be extremely nervous.”
Because, yeah, Rackstraw is still alive, although he has thus far declined to answer questions about the investigation.
As for the FBI, they essentially gave up any hope of catching Cooper two years ago, after 45 years of failed efforts.
In 2016, the bureau announced that while they weren’t closing the case, they had “redirected resources allocated to the DB Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities”.
So what do they make of this latest development? When contacted by CBS, they would neither confirm nor deny whether Rackstraw had ever been a suspect.
“The FBI has received an immense number of tips provided by members of the public, but none to date have resulted in a definitive identification of the hijacker,” an FBI spokeswoman said.
“The tips have conveyed plausible theories, descriptive information about individuals potentially matching the hijacker, and anecdotes — to include accounts of sudden, unexplained wealth.
“In order to solve a case, the FBI must prove culpability beyond a reasonable doubt, and, unfortunately, none of the well-meaning tips or applications of new investigative technology have yielded the necessary proof.”