More letters found
September 13, 2004
RICHMOND, Va. – Letters rigged to ignite when opened and bound for the governor’s offices in Virginia and West Virginia were intercepted Monday, officials said. Governor’s offices in at least 16 other states got similar letters last week.
The letter that arrived in Richmond never threatened Gov. Mark R. Warner, said Bill Leighty, the governor’s chief of staff. The letter, addressed to “executive chambers” in the state Capitol, was uncovered at a central postage-handling facility, Leighty said.
The letter to West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, addressed to “WVA Governor,” made it to his office before it was intercepted by a staffer, Wise said.
Like the letters received last week, both bore a return address from Nevada’s maximum-security Ely State Prison.
“It’s a sad reminder that we live in a dangerous world,” Warner said during a break in the Southern Governors Association conference, being held in Richmond.
At least three of the 16 letters received last week caught fire, but no one was hurt.
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Federal and state authorities have narrowed their investigation to a single person of interest, according to Glen Whorton, assistant director for the Nevada Corrections Department.
FBI Agent Todd Palmer in Las Vegas said authorities have yet to open any of the other envelopes that were intercepted, and lab analysis of the letters was expected to take a few days. He added that agents have yet to establish a motive.
Letters were sent to governors’ offices last week in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. In addition to the governors, Nevada’s corrections director received a booby-trapped letter.
The Montana Capitol was partly evacuated Thursday when the match burned the letter opened there, but there was no further damage.