On July 19th 1978 a typewritten letter from Los Angeles arrived at the San Francisco Chronicle stating:
"I am the ZODIAC and I am in control of all things. I am going to tell you a secret. I like friction tape. I like to have it around in case I need to truss someone up in a hurry....I have my real name on a small metallic tape. You see, while you have it in your possession, I want you to know it belongs to me and you think I may have left it accidentally. I am athletic. It could be swim fins, or a piece of scuba gear. But maybe you play chess with me. I have several cheap sets in closets all over. I have my name on the bottom of the lid with the scotch tape....My tape is waiting for me all over California. Do you know me? I am the ZODIAC and I am in control".
This letter followed the "I am back with you" correspondence mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on April 24th 1978, just three months earlier. Arthur Leigh Allen had been released from the Atascadero State Hospital on August 31st 1977, and this letter is often touted as his return to the persona of the Zodiac Killer after a lengthy absence. Or was it more likely that somebody known or unknown to Allen was attempting to implicate him in the murders by dropping subtle clues pointing in his direction? The author of the July 1978 letter seemingly wants to push us in the direction of tape: "I like friction tape", "I have my real name on a small metallic tape", "I have my name on the bottom of the lid with the scotch tape", and "My tape is waiting for me all over California". It appears like a selling job, trying to push the tape angle in connection with trussing people up, whereas the author may have had other intentions.
'Friction tape is a type of adhesive tape made from cloth impregnated with a rubber-based adhesive, mainly used to insulate splices in electric wires and cables. Because the adhesive is impregnated in the cloth, friction tape is sticky on both sides. The rubber-based adhesive makes it an electrical insulator and provides a degree of protection from liquids and corrosion. In the past, friction tape was widely used by electricians, but PVC electrical tape has replaced it in most applications today. The frictional properties of the tape come from the cloth material, which is usually made from cotton, while the fabric base protects electrical splices against punctures and abrasion. Wikipedia.'
Was this the implication, with 'pipe bombs' having been discovered at Allen's residence, along with supposed bomb manuals. But more credible, is the emphasis on "swim fins" and "scuba gear," considering Allen's penchant for scuba diving, and the opportunities for such pursuits provided by Lake Berryessa, Lake Tahoe and
Permanent marker pens, in conjunction with water resistant tape or labels, are ideal for scuba divers and boat enthusiasts for personalizing your equipment. dolphindiveathens.com/marking-your-dive-gear/. "I have my name on the bottom of the lid with the scotch tape....My tape is waiting for me all over California".
With Arthur Leigh Allen the prime Zodiac candidate for many years, isn't it plausible that somebody was attempting to throw Allen under the proverbial 'school bus' in an attempt to keep him in the frame, while keeping an interest in the Zodiac case burning bright. These two letters could actually be from Zodiac (depending on the validity of DNA evidence), and is simply a game by the real killer to keep the spotlight firmly focused on his convenient "fall guy".