At least 17 suspicious devices ranging from pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails to “hangman style” nooses, have been found in United States Postal Service collection boxes and mailboxes since March 9 of this year. U.S.Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey said they have been finding the devices since January 1, 2010. The ATF also reports that up to 20 additional devices have been placed at other locations not associated with the mail and postal facilities.
Two more “suspicious devices” were discovered in a blue post office collection box and a mailbox in East Texas Thursday afternoon.
After investigation, officials say the construction of the devices indicate the incidents are connected.
Collection boxes outside the main post offices in Tyler, Marshall, Laird Hill and Longview, Texas were targeted, as well as several other East Texas collection boxes and customer mailboxes.
The ATF apparently hasn’t yet released the total number of devices that have been found, but the number has been “substantial,” according to Tom Crowley, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The ATF, which is working the case with USPS, has dispatched additional units to East Texas to scour surveillance video and follow leads.
After Thursday’s discoveries, ATF and USPS raised their reward for information relating to the persons responsible for the devices from $10,000 to $25,000.
To date, officials say there is no suspect in the case.
So far none of the devices have detonated and all have been safely disabled. Although several devices have been active, bomb squads have determined others to be hoaxes.
The United States Postal Inspection Service is asking that anyone with information regarding suspicious activity around blue collection boxes or with information about the person(s) responsible for these acts can contact the Postal Inspection Service’s East Texas Tip Line at 817-359-2719, or the toll-free number, 877-876-2455, option 2.
Incidents in March 2010:
March 9, 2010
Six Crude IEDs were found in collection boxes at six locations in the Longview, TX area.
March 15, 2010
Four “hangman’s nooses” were found inside collection boxes in Gladewater, TX, the main post office in Tyler, TX, the SE Crossing Finance Unit in Tyler, TX, the Azalea Station in Tyler, TX. In addition, five Molotov cocktails were found outside Henderson main Post Office.
March 23, 2010
Two Molotov cocktail devices discovered in Marshall TX, one outside the Marshall Main Post Office, the other in a collection box on East Travis St.
March 25, 2010
Pipe bomb found in a collection box in front of Troup, TX Post Office.
March 30, 2010
IED device found in customer mailbox in Henderson, TX.
March 30, 2010
IED found in a USPS collection box in Longview, TX.
See also …
Kilgore News Herald: Mail box bombs found in Rusk County, Longview
Texarkana Gazette: ATF: At least some bomb incidents are related — Agency looking into probe of the explosions happening in East Texas
CBS5.COM: Mystery Bomber Targets Texas