CRIME: The Man Hunt For Son of Sam Goes On

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CRIME The Man Hunt For Son of Sam Goes On

Along with the killer, fear and suspicion stalk a city

The lonely killer, cunningly carrying out his crazed sexual fantasies by coldly stalking female victims and killing them in the night, is a hackneyed figure of cheap thrill movies and crime pulps. But in New York, his existence is a chilling reality, terrifying hundreds of thousands of young women in and around the city, enraging public officials, and both fascinating and frustrating one of the nation's most sophisticated police forces. The elusive "Son of Sam," who skillfully wields a lethal .44-cal. Bulldog revolver, struck for the eighth time last week, slaying Stacy Moskowitz, 20, and blinding Robert Violante, also 20, as the two sat in a parked car at 2:35 a.m. and watched a full moon illuminate Brooklyn's Gravesend Bay.

Stacy, a popular, outgoing young woman who worked as a secretary for a shoe firm in the Empire State Building, was Son of Sam's sixth murder victim. Robert, a polite, conservatively dressed fellow who had just applied for a construction job with Con Ed, was the seventh person to survive bullet wounds in the killer's yearlong series of attacks.

The spreading fear drastically altered New York's uninhibited courting habits and added a new travail to an already painful summer in Job City. The metropolis, which is still only a few legalistic steps ahead of fiscal insolvency, has suffered through a nightmarish blackout and looting, a bloody bus hijacking and last week two bombings by Puerto Rican independence terrorists. One man was killed and seven people injured, while other bomb scares over two days forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 workers from their buildings.

If terrorists might well pose a greater potential danger to more people, there was much more apprehension of the threat of random shots in the dark from the lone gunman. He has haunted lovers' lanes, attacked couples coming from strobe-lighted discotheques, even opened fire at a pair of girls on a house porch and shot another as he passed her on a street. Twice he taunted police with notes (one left at the scene of a double murder, one sent to Columnist Jimmy Breslin). He has phoned precinct headquarters to say which neighborhood he planned to hit next. But he was neither caught nor cowed, and an aroused modern police force looked no more effective in preventing this type of crude terror than Scotland Yard in dealing with Jack the Ripper's preannounced plans to kill London prostitutes in 1888. He killed half a dozen and was never caught.

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