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Four young men, known as the New Years Gang, plotted and carried out the bombing of what was then the Army Mathematics Research Center, located in Sterling Hall. As a protest to the Vietnam War, Karl Armstrong came up with the idea and convinced his younger brother, Dwight Armstrong, along with David Fine and Leo Burt to participate in the bombing. At 3:42 a.m. on August 24, 1970, the New Years Gang exploded their prepared bomb, causing approximately six million dollars in damages. The New Years Gang did not intend on killing anyone and thought the surrounding buildings would be empty on a Sunday night. Robert Fassnacht, a physics post doc student, was working late that evening to finish an experiment. His death left the campus shaken with grief - and three children without a father.

The entire New Years Gang fled to Canada the evening of the explosion. Over the next several years, the police eventually found and arrested three of the four members; only Leo Burt has never been found. After Karl Armstrong was released from prison in 1980, he returned to Madison and opened the Loose Juice cart that serves fruit drinks during the summer on Library Mall.

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