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Date Posted: 15:05:53 05/04/02 Sat
Subject: Now this is just a little too close to home!
Sat May 4, 3:04 PM ET
Residents on Lyndon Road outside Morrison, Ill., leave their mailbox doors open
so officials can check inside in rural northern Illinois Saturday, May 4, 2002.
Residents in the greater Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa were without mail
delivery as Postal Inspectors and agents with the FBI and ATF investigated the
planting of eight pipe bombs which led to six detonations injuring six people.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Two More Suspected Pipe Bombs Found
Sat May 4, 3:21 PM ET
By MIKE WILSON, Associated Press Writer
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - At least two suspected pipe bombs were found in mailboxes in Nebraska on Saturday, one day after six people were injured by pipe bombs exploding in rural mailboxes in Illinois and Iowa, authorities said.
Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman Terri Teuber said bomb experts were headed to four locations in south-central Nebraska. She said there were reports of at least two devices in mailboxes that appeared to be pipe bombs.
It wasn't immediately clear if the devices had exploded or if they were linked to the bombs found Friday.
Chris Peterson, a spokesman for Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns, said bombs had been reported in Howard, Platte, Fillmore and Thayer counties. He said that to his knowledge, none of the devices had gone off.
Earlier Saturday, federal authorities announced that they had some leads into who may have planted eight pipe bombs found in northeast Iowa and western Illinois on Friday, but they didn't know if one person or several people were responsible.
The bombs were accompanied by anti-government propaganda and a note that said more "attention getters" were on the way, authorities said.
Officials described it as an act of domestic terrorism.
Postal officials in Washington were advising postal workers across the country to be cautious, said Ron Jensen, a postal inspector from Des Moines.
"This may not be a local problem," Jensen said at a news conference.
The note left with the bombs said more "could be delivered to various locations around the country."
Whether similar notes were found in Nebraska wasn't immediately clear. Sheriff's dispatchers in three of the counties named said all officers were in the field and unavailable for comment. Platte County Sheriff Jon Zavadil said he was not aware of any such device found in his county.
The Nebraska State Patrol issued an alert for rural residents to use caution when opening their mailboxes.
In all, eight devices were found on Friday, said Thomas Ahearn, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office in Chicago. Four postal workers and two residents were injured, but none had life-threatening injuries. One woman remained hospitalized in fair condition Saturday.
A map of the bombs found Friday forms a jagged circle straddling the Mississippi River and covering part of the northeast corner of Iowa and western edge of Illinois.
Rural mail delivery in the area was suspended Saturday, and postal officials and local authorities they would inspect 10,800 area mailboxes to make sure there weren't any more bombs.
FBI special agent Jim Bogner said at the news conference that authorities had some promising leads, and he invited whoever was responsible to contact the FBI.
"We want to assure him he has our attention and we want to understand what the situation is, because apparently he has some grievances," Bogner said. "He has our attention and we want to listen now.
"It's a much better option to exercise than planting bombs and injuring people who have nothing to do with these grievances."
Postal officials said the bombs were accompanied by typewritten notes in clear plastic bags that began: "Mailboxes are exploding! Why, you ask?"
Then it said, in part: "If the government controls what you want to do they control what you can do. ... I'm obtaining your attention in the only way I can. More info is on its way. More 'attention getters' are on the way."
The note was signed, "Someone Who Cares."
Authorities still were collecting evidence at the scenes on Saturday, said Jon Petersen, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
"Not all the letters have been examined or analyzed," he said.
Dispatchers at county sheriff's offices said they had received calls from rural residents worried about their mail.
Officials described the bombs as three-quarter-inch steel pipes attached to a 9-volt battery, which appeared to be triggered by being touched or moved.
Jon Petersen, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said some of the bombs went off when the mailbox was opened and others went off when they were moved.
Postal officials were working with the Iowa state crime lab to devise a gadget similar to a fishing pole that would allow inspectors to open a mailbox without having to get close to it, Jensen said.
In Illinois' Carroll County, Sheriff Rod Herrick spent Saturday morning opening mailboxes for worried residents. He fastened a clamp to the mailbox handle, tied fishing line to the clamp, then stepped behind his car and pulled on the line.
"It's no high-tech thing. I'm not a bomb expert," Herrick said. "But I need to do something to keep the calm here."
Even though mail delivery was suspended, hundreds of postal workers were scheduled to report to work Saturday at the mail processing facility in Milan to sort letters and packages.
Instead of loading delivery trucks and shouldering mail bags, they were to attend safety lectures, including training on how to recognize explosives.
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