Experts crack Serial killer’s code 51 years after being sent to U.S. paper




 A coded message sent by the Zodiac Killer to The San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 has finally been cracked, the newspaper reported on Friday.

A team of code breakers solved the vexing cryptogram after 51 years, opening a window into the mind of the still unidentified serial killer thought to have murdered at least five people in the Bay Area from December 1968 to October 1969.

The puzzle, known as the 340 Cipher, was solved by a sleuthing team with members in the U.S., Australia and Belgium, The Chronicle reported.

“I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me,” the chilling message says.

“I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me,” it stated.

Many hoped the long-standing stumper would reveal the killer’s name, but it does not.

“Last weekend, a team I’m on solved the 340 and submitted it to the FBI,” code-breaking expert David Oranchak said in an email to The Chronicle Friday.

“They have confirmed the solution. No joke! This is the real deal.”

A spokesperson for the FBI’s San Francisco office said Oranchak’s claim was accurate.

“The FBI is aware that a cipher attributed to the Zodiac Killer was recently solved by private citizens.

“The Zodiac Killer case remains an ongoing investigation for the FBI San Francisco division and our local law enforcement partners,” the spokesperson, Cameron Polan, said.

“The Zodiac Killer terrorized multiple communities across northern California and, even though decades have gone by, we continue to seek justice for the victims of these brutal crimes,” she said.

“Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not be providing further comment at this time,” Polan said.

The 340 Cipher is the second Zodiac cipher to be solved.

The first one — a long message broken into pieces sent to The Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner and Vallejo Times-Herald in 1969 — was previously cracked by a high school history teacher from Salinas, California, and his wife. (tca/dpa/NAN)

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