CRIME: Telltale Letters

Seven days after month-old Peter Weinberger was stolen from his baby carriage in suburban Westbury, L.I. on July 4, FBI agents swiftly set up field headquarters and went to work.* Hunting down and jailing a few crackpots and hoaxers who brutally tried to extort money from the well-off Weinberger parents was the least of the police and FBI chores. The bigger job: a painstaking search of public records for handwriting to compare with that on two ransom notes.

The FBI had a little to go on: the first ransom note ("I hate to do...

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