Probe into postal package continues

June 12, 1997


Staff Writer

An incident in which a suspicious package shut down the U.S. Post Office in Hagerstown for two hours on Tuesday appears more serious than initially reported, postal officials said Wednesday.

Doug Bem, a spokesman for the Postal Inspection Service, said contents of the package were sent to the Postal Inspection Crime Laboratory in Northern Virginia for further analysis. He said officials X-rayed the package on Tuesday and found "sufficient concerns" to prompt them to "disable it."

Bem wouldn't say what the package contained.

After disabling the package, Bem said postal investigators made a visual examination of the contents. He said there was no visible evidence of explosive material.


"What's fortunate here is that the device was rendered harmless before anyone was harmed," he said.

Bem also gave a new version of how the package was discovered. Contrary to reports Tuesday that it was discovered in the outgoing mail stream, he said it was brought in by a mail carrier who had received it from a relative.

Bem said the person received the package a few weeks ago but was not home. He would not say where the person lives, but he said it is outside Maryland. He also would not say where the package had been mailed from.

Bem said postal investigators are interviewing the mail carrier and her relative.

"There is still a question as to what the contents were and the reasons why the package was sent," he said.

In the wake of Tuesday's incident, postal employees in Hagerstown will receive training to help them better identify suspicious packages, said Tammara Illig, supervisor of customer service.

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