The particulars of D.B. Cooper’s clever airborne crime and daredevil getaway have been pondered, picked over and recapitulated for three decades now.
In 1971, D.B. Cooper hijacked and threatened to blow up an airliner, extorted $200,000 from its owner, Northwest Orient, then leaped from the airborne 727 with 21 pounds of $20 bills strapped to his torso.
He was never seen again—dead or alive. The crime was perfect if he lived, perfectly crazy if he didn’t.
In either case, D.B. Cooper’s nom de crime—no one knows his real name—may be the most recognized alias among western felons since Jack the Ripper.
Everyone from dour G-men to giddy amateur sleuths have pored over the details, hoping to wheedle a resolution out of some overlooked aspect, as though a clue concealed in the holdup’s hieroglyph of facts might lead to an a-ha!, a la Inspector Clouseau.
Yet the case remains unsolved more than 30 years later, and D. B. Cooper has become the Bigfoot of crime, evading one of the most extensive and expensive American manhunts of the 20th century. The whereabouts of the man (or his remains) is one of the great crime mysteries of our time.