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UnaBomber, an italian mystery January 17, 2009

Posted by dorigo in news.
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The italian UnaBomber will probably remain one of the unsolved mysteries of the italian criminal history. Today, after years of investigations, the only suspect, Elvo Zornitta (right), walks out of the case and back to his life, after the investigators have asked his acquittal, for lack of proofs to his charge.

North-eastern Italy has been plagued, in the last decade, by a string of senseless, random attacks targeting women and children. Somebody soon dubbed “UnaBomber” by the press left exploding toys in places where they could be found and accidentally set off. Other explosive devices were inserted in toothpaste tubes or other goods on the shelves of grocery stores. Some of the victims lost fingers, eyes, remained invalid after the explosions. Despite a huge investigative effort, only a suspect was identified. And it looked like it could be him. It really did.

Elvo Zornitta had the competence and the tools, and his psychological profile did match at least in part with what one could expect from a UnaBomber. He liked explosives; he had a garage-lab where he could assemble the mini-bombs which were inserted in the decoys. In it, investigators found empty containers of those mini-toys that Kinder, the chocolate maker, inserts inside chocolate eggs – the same kind of containers that exploded a few years ago in one of the attacks.

And in the garage, a pair of scissors was found, which was compatible with the cuts on tin sheet which had wrapped one of the exploded devices. That appeared the biggest indicium, and investigators attached great significance to the match observed between the pattern of the blades and the pattern on the tin sheet. But that, in fact, turned out to be the ticket to freedom for Zornitta, since his lawyers demonstrated that the scientific unit of the investigators in Venice had tampered with the evidence, to make it more striking. Ezio Zernar, a ballistic technician, is now under investigation for that episode.

It now looks like nobody will ever know whether Elvo is really innocent. However, he has withstood a few doomed years of investigations and the hatred of everybody around him -people are quick to administer a verdict of guilt in cases of this kind- before being acquitted, and I like to think that he is, in fact, innocent. Good luck, mr. Zornitta.