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Incendiary Letters Sent to Governors' Offices

Incendiary Letters Sent to Governors' Offices

Posted - Sep. 9, 2004 at 3:39 p.m.



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Sandra Yi ReportingSgt. Wade Breuer, Department of Public Safety: "It's just a normal looking letter. It even has a return address with a name on it."

The governor's office received a potentially dangerous delivery today. A similar letter disrupted government business in Montana, when it caught on fire. Authorities say the letter is made to catch on fire if it's opened.

Authorities believe a prison inmate in Nevada is mailing these letters to governors in different states. The letters are sent in plain, business-like envelopes.

The letter arrived at Governor Olene Walker's office this morning. The office manager saw it and called security. The governor's staff has been on alert since yesterday, when authorities told them government offices in other states had received similar letters. Governor Walker was not in her office when the letter arrived. It was never opened.

Sgt. Wade Breuer: "This is what they consider an incendiary device, which just means that there was a match placed inside that would light and then catch the paper around it. It was just plain pieces of paper inside this envelope, standard-sized envelope that would catch on fire."

Governor's Offices in three other states -- Idaho, Nebraska and Montana -- also received the letter. Officials in Montana actually opened it and it caught on fire. The building was evacuated.

Authorities are investigating and say letters may have gone out to all 50 states. They believe an inmate in Ely, Nevada is mailing them out to disrupt business or government operations. There was no writing or hate mail included in any of the letters.

The letter is in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service, which is doing a joint investigation with the Department of Homeland Security. The Postal Service says mailing hazardous materials is a federal felony.

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