$100K reward offered in white powder letters mystery

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on August 13, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 13 at 7:50 PM

DALLAS - Three FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service are offering a $100,000 reward to crack the mail mystery of who is mailing letters filled with white powder across North Texas.

So far,  the powder has not been toxic but it remains troubling. The most recent letter arrived Wednesday at the Crowley Courts Building in Dallas.

Authorities said more than two dozen such letters have turned up since August 5. They were sent to churches, mosques and businesses in 11 North Texas cities, and they also reference terrorism.

So, who is behind the mail mystery and what's being done to stop it? Federal officials now believe the same person is responsible for 25 letters sent in North Texas with white powder inside. Ultimately, that person may be responsible for another 225 similar letters sent across the country and the world. The other letters were sent in 2008 to Unites States governors and US embassies.

The FBI said the messages reference al Qaeda, but the motive is unclear.

"The message is not articulated well," said Mark White, an FBI spokesman. "We just don't know what it is the person is trying to tell us."

Postal authorities continue to say the public is not at risk, but the cost of responding to the hoaxes and shutting down businesses is mounting. They hope the $100,000 reward will cause someone to come forward with information.       

Historically, officials say the people behind such hoaxes work alone.

Even though the white power is not real,  the punishments is up to five years in prison per letter.

Few people thought of danger arriving in the mail until 2001, which was when the Anthrax scare gripped the country. Five people, including two Postal workers, died when toxic letters turned up in Washington DC a month after the September 11 attacks.

E-mail: dschechter@wfaa.com
 

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