‘Unprecedented cooperation’ key to nabbing Austin bomber

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As authorities continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the Austin bomber’s attacks, they point with pride to the coordinated effort to catch the criminal.

As Mark Conditt planted half-a-dozen explosives around Austin in a three-week bombing spree, federal investigators called in more than 500 agents to assist Austin Police in finding the Pflugerville resident.

Fred Milanowski, special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, called the effort an “unprecedented cooperation” between the agencies. Alongside ATF and APD, the Federal Bureau of Investigation collaborated, each agency providing its skill set to comb through surveillance video and pictures, interview eyewitnesses, speak to neighbors, and compile tips.

“Five-hundred agents coming together, bringing different skill sets to the table and working together to capture this guy and to ultimately, identify and locate him. It was amazing to watch,” John Bash, United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said Wednesday.

The investigation brought in help in all forms. ATF K9 Bonny and Special Agent Canine Handler Goerge Goodman drove in from Detroit, MI, to assist. Goodman said he was asked if he was available, and “everybody stepped up.”

“It’s a big deal so we all want to do our part to assist,” Goodman explained Wednesday morning, after K9 Bonny checked the bomber’s parents’ property for explosive materials.

The feds have not put a price tag on the operation, though they proved this was a top priority as the number of attacks increased, spanning multiple cities and counties.

“We ruined everybody’s spring break,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said Wednesday. “But most important thing is people were dying, and people were getting hurt, and we had to move those resources.”

The state also provided resources, including support from the Texas Rangers and Department of Public Safety. Police were also aided by neighboring cities with emergency services because of the various crime scenes.

“As Coach Wooden says, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when no one’s worried about who gets the credit,” Milanowski said.

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