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Bomb squad process when responding to mailed bomb threats

Posted at 9:37 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 08:22:50-04

At least seven suspicious packages containing crude pipe bombs were mailed to high ranking government officials, former politicians and CNN.

Each one was intercepted before it reached it's intended goal. These packages were received at several locations in New York, Washington, D.C., Florida, and California - all addressed to politicians.

Sergeant Jason Rockwell with the Pima County Sheriff Department's bomb squad said the packages intercepted today had the tell-tale signs postal workers look out for.

"You might see things like excessive postages on them. You might see something with the improper markings misspellings, maybe some problems with the address, who its addressed to," said Rockwell.

The United States Postal Service said it handles more than 509 million pieces of mail daily, so screening every piece is difficult.

"Is it excessively bulky, is it making unusual sounds, does it have weird weight and shapes, and things that just don't seem right might prompt someone to scrutinize it further," said Rockwell.

Here are some other red flags:

  • Restrictive markings
  • No return address
  • Excessive tape
  • Oily stains
  • Strange odors
  • Protruding wires

Once that mail is deemed suspicious, calls to law enforcement are immediate; and when officers arrive and then preform a risk assessment.

"Where its going, who its addressed to can add to those things that could be concerning to us. Are they a public figure? Is there a reason why someone is targeting them?'" said Rockwell.

But here is what you can do if you come across mail you're not so sure of. Don't pick it up, if you haven't already. Isolate it. Do not open, smell or taste it, and notify police.

Today's suspicious packages are now in Quantico, Virginia, being examined by the FBI.