Wednesday, March 26, 2008

D.B. Cooper's Money

In some of the stories about D.B. Cooper's parachute possibly being found, the extortion money is mentioned. Now the FBI is claiming that none of the $200,000 made it into circulation. Some $5800 was found on the banks of the Columbia River years later.

Why do they think that none of the $200,000 from the 1971 crime never made it into circulation? Well, the FBI believes that Cooper died when he jumped out of the plane. They don't think he even opened the parachute. Of course, this is purely speculation on the FBI's part. Therefore, if D.B. Cooper died, then he didn't spend any of the money.

At the time, several rewards were offered for returning any of the money, and the serial numbers of all the $20 bills were distributed to banks. In his 1985 book, "D.B. Cooper, What Really Happened," Max Gunther wrote:

"Bank people feel in general that their chances of participating in any meaningful way in such rewards are slim. If an alert teller or bookkeeping clerk spots a listed bill, that is typically the first minor step in an investigation. The bill may have changed hands many times since it was originally spent by the criminal being sought. Tracking the bill back to that criminal would involve a long chain of people, most of whom will feel they have a greater claim on the reward than the teller who first spotted the bill. In most cases the biggest share of the reward--if not all of it--goes to the detective or witness who makes the final connections leading to the arrest. The teller, if lucky, gets ten bucks and a letter of official gratitude. More often, the teller gets forgotten."

It's doubtful that any serious attempt was made to spot any of the bills.

Now, Kenneth Christiansen, who was employed by Northwest as a flight attendant, purchased a house with cash about a year after D.B. Cooper carried out his daring crime. Also, his lifestyle was seemingly beyond the means of most Northwest employees.

I recently talked with Bill Rataczak, the co-pilot of Flight 305, the Boeing 727 that Cooper hijacked. He told me that Cooper insisted that the wing flaps be tilted 15 degrees, to slow the plane down. "He knew that airplane," he said. "A flight attendant wouldn't know to do that." I reminded him that Christiansen was a Northwest mechanic before he became a flight attendant. He said that he didn't know that. He also didn't know that Christiansen was a former paratrooper.

The FBI asked Sherlock Investigations to submit DNA evidence from Kenneth Christiansen. We did about nine months ago. It's probably in a box with all the other evidence from the case, in the basement of the FBI office in Seattle.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting stuff, D.B. Cooper. Whatever you think of the man, folk hero or criminal, it took enormous daring to hijack a commercial airliner and do what he did.
If he lived, it was pretty much the perfect crime (he got away with it/nobody was hurt) and if he died... well, who wouldn't like to be hiking and find $200,000?
Either way, it lights the imagination.

Anonymous said...

From what I've been reading, I think Sherlock Investigations is really unto something. Stick to your guns and follow every lead. You might be right that Kenneth Christiansen really was D.B. Cooper.

Anonymous said...

The idea that somehow some of the bills could have been circulated and never been detected as part of the ransom money is ridiculous. 20 dollar bills have a life expectancy of 24 months. (And would have been retired even if not worn out by 1996.) And would have had their serials checked before they were destroyed. I bet the dude either cratered into the woods and lost his cash on the way down. Or, survived just barely, found out that the FBI had all the serial numbers of the bills, realized that it would be traced back to him. So, he chucked the cash in the river and went on with his life.

rednael said...

Good afternoon.

Enough, already! The mystery is no longer a mystery.

Please, please, please, will someone take a look at a book called "Alive, Alaska"?

Briefly, the book is a comical look at the story (fictional? Not so, I say) of a young African-American named Roland David Hunter. The man was hard-work, determined, the true definition of a "law-abiding citizen"....yet, he was lonely beyond lonely, sad, depressed and suicidal.

He was close to taking his own life when God intervened.

Roland saved the life of a man that "rewarded" him with an all-expenses paid vacation to a very remote area of Alaska.

This had long been a dream of Roland's and it picked his spirits up, to put it mildly.

The story, however, is about what Roland discovered while on his fishing trip.

Roland had everything at his disposal, including transportation to explore the many lakes and streams in Alaska. Well, one morning he took a wrong turn, happily riding along until he came to the end of a road. The road was blocked by a long, long, fence.

Roland's curiosity was peaked, as there was no reason for a fence to be there in the first place.

Bravely, he got out and walked the length of the fence, praying that he didn't run into any bears.

What he came across was a slew of beautiful mansions on this enclosed property, exclusive and very secluded from prying eyes.

There were (are) some very interesting people living in this area.

But, the owner of this wide expanse had been there since the early seventies. He bought the property dirt cheap, paid cash for it, had two homes built for himself, fenced the place in, then opened it up to others just as reclusive as himself.

The people that moved in are all stories by themself.

But the name of the owner of that area, aptly named "Alive, Alaska"?

Mr. D.B. Cooper.

That's right. Mr. D.B. Cooper.

That was in the mid to late nineties. Is he still alive? No telling. You'd have to ask a very happy Roland David Hunter, who moved up to "Alive, Alaska" at the request of the residents.

You see, these are some very famous people who "should" be dead. They've "died" young or suspiciously, then somehow relocated to "Alive, Alaska".

Roland discovered this little secret and he knew that he'd found the goldmine of all stories.

But, that's why you need to read the book

Please go to, or Google the book, "Alive, Alaska".

Trust me, it's not just another fantasy.

Thank you.