How Technology Caught the Austin Serial Bomber

Wednesday police in Austin, Texas finally located the “serial bomber” believed to be responsible for six package bombs which killed two people over the last three weeks. “The operation was aided by different uses of technology, including surveillance cameras and cell phone triangulation.” An anonymous reader shares this article: The suspect, who has been identified as 24-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, was killed near the motel he was traced to thanks to surveillance footage from a Federal Express drop-off store, The Austin American-Stateman reported. The authorities were able to gather information after police noticed the subject shipped an explosive device from a Sunset Valley FedEx store, a suburb approximately 25 minutes away from Austin. The evidence included the security footage from the store, as well as store receipts obtained showing suspicious transactions. The authorities were also able to look at the individual’s Google search history, the Statesman noted, which gave them further insight into his dealings…

The authorities were also able to use cell phone triangulation technology, which provides a cell phone’s location data via information collected from nearby cell towers… The phone’s GPS capabilities can track the phone within 5 to 10 feet and can also provide “historical” or “prospective” location information. It can also “ping” the phone, forcing it to reveal its exact location… As cell phone companies store this type of data, law enforcement authorities must request it via the appropriate court processes.


“Authorities in Austin were able to use this technology to trace the suspect to a hotel in Williamson County.”