What Was Austin Bombing Suspect's Motive?

Mar 21, 2018

Local and federal law enforcement agencies are digging deeper into Austin bombing suspect Mark Anthony Conditt's background. Still. there has been no word about his motive.

But a former FBI profiler, whose work led to the capture of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, believes the next phase of the investigation could move fairly quickly.


Investigators know that Conditt lived in his father's Pflugerville home. They also know he lived with roommates. and that he was out-of-work and had no military or criminal record.

 

Mark Anthony Conditt wearing wig and pink gloves when shipping two of his package bombs at a South Austin FedEx store
Credit Austin Police Department

Police used surveillance video from a South Austin FedEx retail store, where Conditt mailed two package bombs. In the video, Conditt can be seen handling the packages with pink latex gloves.

Investigators were also able to positively identify Conditt as the bomber based on a number of internet searches that Condit made.

Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI profiler, whose work led to the capture of Kaczynski in 1996. He thinks that Conditt's behavior makes him different than past serial bombers.

“That’s a lack of sophistication as far his ability to conceal his identity, and, unfortunately, you can go online and find how to build devices like the devices that he had,” Van Zant said.

Van Zandt said FBI investigators were also able to trace exotic batteries purchased through an Asian online vendor. They were able to track Conditt’s cell phone back to phone towers located near each of the bombings.  

Mark Anthony Conditt
Credit Facebook

Van Zandt said unlike the Las Vegas shooter or other serial bombers from the past, who wanted to keep police agencies guessing for decades, it should be fairly easy for investigators to determine Conditt’s motive for the bombings in and around the Austin area.

“He’s been someone who’s been exposed to social media. He lived in a house and had two roommates. It's going to be relatively easy to put together the wiring diagram as we try to do this psychological autopsy of the bomber,” Van Zant said.

That social media includes a 2012 blog  titled, “Defining My Stance,” where Conditt expresses his views against gay marriage and abortion, for the death penalty and his argument for ending the sex offender registration system.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1