ENVELOPE WITH POWDER - Found in US Rep. Wexler's office in Boca Raton.greenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Palm Beach Post
Mysterious mail found in Wexler's building
By Eliot Kleinberg, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Sunday, October 14, 2001
BOCA RATON -- A postal carrier found an envelope coated with powder in the outgoing mail of the office building housing the district headquarters of U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, authorities and the congressman said.
The envelope was found in the second-floor mailroom of the Crystal Corporate Center, 2500 N. Military Trail, about 4:30 p.m. Friday, a police report said.
At the time, all of Wexler's staff had left their first-floor office for the day, district administrator Wendi Lipsich said Saturday from Boca Raton.
Wexler was in Washington Friday, Lipsich said. Reached in the nation's capital on Saturday, Wexler said his constituents have a right to be concerned, adding that he feared there could be a connection between the anthrax found in the American Media Inc. building and terrorist attacks last month.
"The facts speak for themselves," he said. "Eight people who work in Boca Raton have been diagnosed with anthrax. Eleven or 12 of the hijackers had more than a casual relationship with South Florida.
"I don't think we can assume that is a coincidence."
Wexler said he wasn't jumping to any conclusions about the finding at his office.
"We don't know if it had anything to do with me," he said.
Capitol Police spokesman Dan Nichols said his agency -- responsible for security in the Capitol building and surrounding executive office buildings as well as members of Congress and their staff anywhere in the United States -- has been notified about the incident.
"It doesn't appear to have any connection with the congressman," Nichols said. "Nonetheless, because of its proximity, it is of interest to the Capitol Police."
A U.S. mail carrier had opened the outgoing mailbox for the entire building and placed a handful of mail into a bin, and saw a white, powdery substance on an open letter-sized manila envelope, the report said.
City firefighters in hazardous materials suits with filtered masks packed the suspicious mail in three layers of large, locking plastic bags; they then sealed off the mailroom with cloth tape and placed "hazardous materials" signs on the door and tape across the hallway leading to the mailroom, the report said.
Lipsich confirmed the material was taken to an FBI laboratory in Miami. An FBI spokesman did not return a call Saturday.
Barbara Graw, property manager for Gaedeke Landers, the building's owner, said she could not comment beyond what she recorded on the voice mail for her office. It said the building was "open for normal business hours. The area in question has been contained and sealed off. Boca Raton Fire-Rescue has assured us that there is no health risk outside of the contained area." Graw's recording asked any tenants who had concerns to contact the county's health department.
West of the city, another postal scare emptied a section of the Boca West subdivision on Saturday. A dispatcher for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said a mail carrier flagged down a deputy near the intersection of Jog and Glades roads because the carrier was concerned about something in his truck. The area was evacuated briefly while authorities checked out the package, the dispatcher said. No further details were available Saturday.
Staff writer Clay Lambert contributed to this story.
-- Anonymous, October 14, 2001