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Powder on mail harmless

February 18, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

Members of the Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County Special Operations Unit went to the Longmeadow Shopping Center parking lot Tuesday afternoon after a report that a piece of mail opened by a man in his vehicle contained a white powder.

Police said the powder was not a harmful substance.

Hagerstown Sgt. Steve Bussard said police received a report between 3 and 3:30 p.m. after a motorist opened the envelope and white powder came out. Bussard said on-scene testing revealed the substance was talcum powder.

At 3:35 p.m., a special operations unit responder removed a white envelope from the Jeep Cherokee and took it to a unit truck. Within 15 minutes, the motorist, who later identified himself as Chip Zimmer of Hagerstown, was cleared to leave.

"When I opened it, there was some kind of powder," Zimmer said. "It was from somebody I knew, so I doubted it was anything. But, I still wanted to check it out."

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Police said they believed the powder got on the mail inadvertently in transit.

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