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02-04-07, 02:30 PM #1
Suspicious package' found in Loop
February 2, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Federal agents in Kansas City and Chicago are investigating possible connections between similar pipe bombs mailed to office buildings in the two cities a day apart.
Both devices were defused without incident.
In Kansas City, the FBI said a threatening note accompanied the explosive device that arrived Wednesday at American Century Investments' midtown mail facility, a few blocks from the company's national headquarters.
On Thursday afternoon, a similar explosive was found at a Chicago business in a 65-story downtown skyscraper, said Wanda Shipp, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. That package also contained a note, Shipp said, although she would not characterize it as ''threatening.''
Authorities did not name the Chicago business. Bomb squads from the Chicago Police Department and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives defused the bomb, Shipp said.
Chicago police confirmed late Thursday that they responded to a ''suspicious package'' around 2:20 p.m. in the 300 block of South Wacker Drive.
Chicago police spokesman Hector Alfaro said the immediate area was evacuated and that there will be a follow-up investigation by ATF, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Typically, postal inspectors investigate only a few instances of explosive devices sent through the mail each year, according to the agency's annual reports.
Dan Taylor, a regional spokesman for postal inspectors in St. Louis, said investigators were searching for links between this week's bombs.
''Any type of mail bomb complaint or investigation is the highest priority case the postal inspection service looks at,'' Taylor said.
Postal Inspector Don Obritsch in Kansas City said his agency was working with the FBI and ATF pursuing leads in the American Century case.
''The guys are working on it feverishly,'' Obritsch said. ''It's a big deal to us.''
Obritsch said investigators have not established a clear motive. The FBI declined Thursday to say whether the bomb was addressed to an individual or to American Century generally.
American Century spokesman Chris Doyle said the company was back to normal Thursday but was considering ways to enhance safety procedures.
''The security and safety of our employees is the most important thing,'' Doyle said. ''We're going to do what it takes to keep our employees safe.''
Though Obritsch described Wednesday's bomb as an ''actual I.E.D., improvised explosive device,'' he said it appeared more designed to frighten than kill.
''This was the real deal, but it was not primed to go off,'' Obritsch said. ''To some extent, it was a device meant to scare people.''
Michael P. Schmitz, an ATF spokesman, said that even if the sender didn't intend for the bomb to go off, it still posed a threat.
''If the components were there, it's dangerous,'' said Schmitz. ''It could have blown up at a postal facility because it got too hot or there was too much friction. The fact that this didn't explode doesn't make it less of a case or a violation.''
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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02-04-07, 03:54 PM #2Banned
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Anyone else got the feeling suspicious packages are going to be big news in 2007? Too many people out there who see how much news they can get for minimal effort.
I'm actually surprised there weren't a bunch of copycats to the guy who tried to make a smiley face on the map with his placement of mailbox bombs.
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