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Headline Archives

Help Us Find the Culprit

Excerpt of threatening letter sent to bank

A photograph of one of the letters. More than 60 identical or similar letters were sent to three different financial institutions in at least 11 states. Download high resolution picture.

On Monday, a series of threatening letters filled with an unknown powder started showing up at financial institutions across America, causing a massive response and ensuing multi-agency investigation led by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in concert with state and local authorities.

Now, we’re releasing photographs of one of the letters and its envelope in the hopes that you might be able to help us solve the case.

Photograph of envelope addressed to bank

A photograph of the envelope that was used with the letter above. Download high resolution picture.

Update: 10/24/2008

Get more details on the case in our new podcast, Inside the FBI

It’s a pending investigation, but here’s what we can tell you:

… So far, we’ve identified more than 60 letters, nearly all of which use threatening language identical to the text shown above. The letters have all been mailed from Texas and postmarked at Amarillo.

… Most of the letters contained some sort of powdery substance. All field tests to date have turned up negative—the powder appears harmless. Additional testing is taking place at regional laboratories.

… The letters have been sent to at least 11 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.

… The following three institutions have received letters:

You can help. Please study the images above and see if you recognize the phrasing of the letter, the envelope label, or any other clue that you think might help investigators. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. 

If you have any information about the letters or if you know who might have sent them, please contact authorities immediately in one of the following ways:

Meanwhile, we’d like to remind everyone that sending a threatening letter with or without powder—even if it’s a hoax—is a serious crime. It demands a multi-agency response in each location, causing a drain on resources and diverting personnel from actual emergencies and other urgent situations.

“People who have mailed these kinds of hoax letters in the past have received some serious jail time,” says Special Agent Richard Kolko, Chief of the FBI’s National Press Office in Washington, D.C. “This investigation will continue until those responsible are arrested, and we appreciate the public’s support by providing information.”

- National Press Release
- Phoenix Press Release
- Salt Lake City Press Release
- San Francisco Press Release

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