D.B. Cooper Snoops to Gather in Portland for 40th Anniversary Sleuth-Off

Nothing wards off the dozing effects of tryptophan better than a little detective work on America's most famous unsolved heist. Proving this fact, detectives, journalists and fans from all over the country will be spending their Thanksgiving weekend in Portland, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the "D.B. Cooper" hijacking.

For those who have forgotten about the D.B. Cooper case, the Cliff's Notes version is thus: on November 24, 1971 a man later referred to as "D.B. Cooper" was able to hijack two airplanes and extort $200,000 before leaping out of the plane with a parachute somewhere between Portland and Seattle. Cooper has never been found and the case remains the only unsolved commercial airline hijacking in American history.

The 40th anniversary symposium, which is open to the pubic on a suggested-donation basis, will go down Nov. 26 at the Portland Hilton and will feature speakers like paleontologist Tom Kaye, who was hired by the FBI to examine bits of cash that were pulled out of the Columbia River, and FBI agents Ralph Himmelsbach and Jerry Thomas who chased Cooper for years

The principal organizer of the event is none other than investigative journalist and New York Magazine contributor Geoffrey Gray, whom I interviewed about his book SKYJACK: The Hunt for D.B Cooper back in August.

He writes:

"The Cooper Symposium will be like a gathering of the minds for Cooper sleuths across the country to join together in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the hijacking to solve, once and for all, this great mystery."

"Consider this an APB: to residents of the Pacific Northwest, followers of the case, law enforcement. We are looking to collect any clues or tips that could help illuminate even the smallest detail in what has become one of our most intriguing and legendary unsolved crimes."

Whether the D.B Cooper mystery will finally be solved at this "meeting of the minds" remains to be seen. But putting a bunch of ex cops, journalists and true-crime fans in the same room has been known to lead to a good time.

It beats leftover turkey sandwiches, that's for sure.

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