A Massachusetts man says he has cracked the Zodiac killer's cipher that has befuddled law enforcement agencies for the last 40 years since the enigmatic serial killer went on his Bay Area killing spree. The amateur sleuth says the 340-character code sent to the San Francisco Chronicle declares at the end, "My name is Leigh Allen," one of the principal suspects in the case, who died in 1992.
Corey Starliper of Tewksbury, Mass., became obsessed with the Zodiac case and decided he could break the code, according to news reports.
"It was just instinct," he told the Burlingame Patch. "I have a gut feeling that it could be cracked."
According to Robert Graysmith, in "Zodiac" tips received by police after Darlene Ferrin's murder indicated that the killing was connected to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Starliper believed that the "340" of the 340 cipher was significant, and had some tie-in with the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was then that he found out that 340 is the area code for a portion of the U.S. Virgin Islands -- not an insignificant connection.
We're no cipher experts, but it Starliper's result is at least highly readable:
"So that's what I started with," said Starliper. "I thought, there's no way ... that Zodiac is going to be prosaic enough not to mention the U.S. Virgin Islands in this code. This is where it gets even creepier. 3+4+0=7. Right. So you get 7+0=7. 707 ... 707 are the area codes for Vallejo, Napa, and Solano. So I figured, why not start this with Caesar code using 3,4."