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Yale Bombing Damage Nearly Fixed
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Except for the absence of two paintings that are still out being restored, no visible signs remain of the damage inflicted by a bomb that exploded in an empty Yale Law School classroom last year.

The bombing on May 21, 2003 fueled fears of terrorist attacks at Yale, the Ivy League school attended by President Bush's daughter Barbara and the alma mater of the president, his father, and former President Bill Clinton.

No arrests have been made. A federal grand jury has considered some evidence, but no indictments have been handed down.

U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said the FBI's bomb experts and investigators continue to work the case, although he acknowledged the difficulty in finding the perpetrator of a crime when most of the evidence is blown to bits.

"These are tough, tough cases," O'Connor said. "The investigation is very active. We have not reached a dead end, but on the other hand, that doesn't mean we're going to charge anybody anytime soon."

FBI agents and New Haven police detectives who are investigating the bombing refused to comment on the status of the investigation.

In the days after the bombing, federal agents circulated two sketches of men seen in the area shortly before the bomb went off.

Over the past year they also have investigated at least four men. In August, agents took vanloads of items out of a Branford trailer where former Yale employee Vincent Pergolotti Jr., a convicted arsonist, lived with his father.

Pergolotti served several years in prison for setting fire to two former employers' buildings in Orange. His sentence was lengthened when he walked away from a prison work detail.

About 12 years ago, he worked briefly as a custodian at the Yale Law Library. He was arrested for the Orange fires after a building official found evidence Pergolotti was living in the library basement. Items recovered included his baptism certificate and news articles about the fires.

Pergolotti was ordered to stay off Yale property in 2000 after several complaints were made about his presence on campus.

His lawyer, Norm Pattis, has said repeatedly that Pergolotti had nothing to do with the bombing.

The other men who were investigated include a law student who kept a historic reproduction rifle in his dorm room; a Hamden man who was convicted of stealing books from Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library; and a former employee of Yale's computer science department.

Yale Law School increased security following the explosion, which caused no injuries but damaged a classroom and an adjacent lounge.

Several paintings in the lounge were damaged. Hundreds of old European law books that were in a storage vault under the classroom were soaked with water when the blast set off the sprinklers. The books are undergoing restoration, and some were freeze-dried to curb the water damage.

The bombing did not damage the reputation of Yale Law School, which is among the most prestigious in the country, said school spokeswoman Jan Conroy.

"I think most people consider it the oddest thing that could have happened, and moved on," Conroy said.

As long as the bomber remains free, however, O'Connor acknowledged there is a chance of another bombing.

"There's always a concern. Whenever somebody commits a violent crime, you fear they may strike again," O'Connor said.

But investigators are focused on a thorough investigation that will catch the right person, he added.

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