DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The FBI in Dallas and the U.S. Postal Inspector are offering a $150,000 reward for anyone who will give information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects involved in sending out letters laced with white powder.
Dozens of letters — an estimated 380 of them — have been sent from the Dallas area to schools, governors’ offices, embassy offices overseas and elsewhere since December 2008. And despite their efforts, the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspectors have not been able to find the person or people responsible.
Authorities believe that the primary suspect is a male over the age of 30 who has a grievance with the government, law enforcement or society in general. FBI agents do not believe that the suspect is a terrorist, but simply using the letters as a scare tactic.
The white powder in the letters has turned out to be corn starch, but the incidents cost thousands of dollars because hazmat teams are called out to each scene. The facilities receiving the letters have also been evacuated.
The Mi Escuelita Preschool was evacuated last Wednesday after an employee opened a letter which contained white powder inside. Gayle Nave, the school’s executive director, said that when the letter was opened, the employee was discussing the fact that other local schools had received similar letters. “As they were opening the mail, she was speaking to her cubemate,” said Nave. “‘Did you hear about all the white powder letters yetserday?’ Lo and behold, she starts to open one and there’s the white powder.”
Nave said that the employees called 911 and safely evacuated the students. “When you’re disrupting a classroom and you’re displacing children, it can get a little hectic, and it can get a little frightening for the kids,” said Nave. “I think it’s terrible. I question why anyone would do that.”
Nave added that she is glad to hear about the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspector offering a cash reward. “I think that’s good,” she said, “because someone out there knows something besides the person who’s doing this.”
According to FBI agents, anyone who receives a letter with white powder inside is advised to get away from it, wash up and call 911.
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