The FBI announced a billboard campaign Tuesday that it hopes will help it track down a man wanted in a trio of bombings a decade ago in Northern California -- two at a biotechnology company and then another a month later at a nutritional products firm.
Images of Daniel Andreas San Diego – who in 2009 became the first suspected domestic terrorist added to the Bureau’s “Most Wanted” Terrorist List -- will be featured on electronic billboards throughout California, Florida, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Washington, as well as along the U.S.-Canada border on the East and West Coasts.
The billboards will describe the crimes, note that a reward of “up to $250,000” has been posted and ask anyone with information to call the phone tip line: 1-800-CALL-FBI.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a similar targeted, multi-market media blitz several years ago, which it says led to the arrest of fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger, then No. 1 on the “Most Wanted” list after Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden.
FBI via AP file
This is undated file photo provided by the FBI shows bombing suspect Daniel Andreas San Diego.
In that case, the billboards and television publicity campaign showed pictures of Catherine Greig, the girlfriend of the Boston mobster. That led to his arrest in California, and he was subsequently convicted in Boston of charges that he participated in 11 murders and sentenced lin November to two life terms in prison.
In the case of San Diego, authorities say he is an animal rights activist and domestic terrorist who should be considered armed and dangerous.
The first bombing he is accused of committing took place on Aug. 28, 2003, when two bombs exploded approximately one hour apart on the campus of a biotechnology corporation in Emeryville, Calif., near San Francisco. Nearly a month later, on Sept. 26, 2003, a single explosive device filled with nails exploded at a nutritional products firm in Pleasanton, Calif.
According to various tips, San Diego has been spotted in the Northern California cities of Novato, San Rafael and Santa Cruz, as well as in Northampton, Mass.
On Tuesday, the FBI office in Honolulu said the bureau recently received “credible intelligence that San Diego may be hiding on Hawaii’s 'Big Island' and that agents from the Honolulu and San Francisco offices were canvassing the communities of Puna and Pahoa for information on his whereabouts."
In addition, San Diego has ties to Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Costa Rica and Bolivia, federal officials said in a statement announcing the publicity campaign.
Authorities issued a federal arrest warrant San Diego in October 2003, describing him as a white male with a light complexion, 6-feet tall and 160 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Authorities said he has several tattoos, including a round image of burning hillsides in the center of his chest with the words "It only takes a spark" printed in a semicircle below; burning and collapsing buildings on the sides of his abdomen and back; and a single leafless tree rising from a road in the center of his lower back.
The Bureau noted in a statement however that the tattoos “may have been removed, significantly altered or covered with new tattoos” and that because of the “unique nature of the tattoos, San Diego may be reluctant to remove his shirt, even in situations where it is the norm.”
Officials also said that at the time of his disappearance, San Diego did not eat meat or any food containing animal products. FBI profilers believe San Diego “has maintained this discipline, (and) people around him may notice that he avoids consuming or wearing anything made with animal products.”
In addition, the bureau’s behavioral analysts believe the fugitive is likely “vague or contradictory about his past history, routinely using prepaid cell phones or calling cards or often changing his email address.”
They said San Diego may also be using his English language abilities to be teaching, translating or part of a service industry such as tourism overseas. “He is also known to cook and bake vegan and vegetarian foods and to have an interest in sailing,” the bureau said. “He may be using these skills as a form of income, specifically for cash to avoid using banks, checks and credit cards.”
Anyone with information on the suspect is urged to contact their nearest FBI office or dial 911. The FBI can be reached 24 hours a day at 415-553-7400 in the San Francisco area or its Honolulu office, 808-566-4300.
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First published March 11 2014, 7:28 PM