Remember the days before tamper-proof packaging? Neither do I. Seems like it's been around my whole life. But there was a time when protection from whack-jobs was not the primary purpose of putting a cap on something. That all changed in 1982 however following the still unsolved Chicago Tylenol murders. Between September 29 and October 1, 1982 seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol capsules for various reasons. It quickly became evident that it was not a manufacturing problem but that someone had removed Tylenol packages from shelves in various stores, introduced cyanide into the capsules themselves and then returned the poisoned products back to store shelves where the victims eventually bought them. Once it became clear what was going on Tylenol's maker, Johnson and Johnson, ordered a nationwide recall of all Tylenol products, a move that is said to have cost them some $100 million.

While law enforcement has had plenty of suspects over the years (including Ted Kazcynski aka: the unabomber) no one has ever been charged with the murders. At the time a man claiming to be responsible sent a letter to authorities demanding $1 million to stop the attacks. He was caught, identified as one James Lewis, and served 13 years in prison for his attempted extortion. Though he began denying he was involved the minute he was arrested the fact is that at the time he did claim in writing to be the killer and he remains a suspect to this day (though no solid evidence against him other than his extortion letter has surfaced).

It's impossible to say if anyone will ever be convicted of this crime but the lasting legacy of the Tylenol murders is with us every time we go to the store pretty much anywhere in the world in the form of the aforementioned tamper-proof packaging that we now take for granted on everything from prescription drugs to bottled water.
The seven victims of the unsolved Chicago Tylenol murders.