EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

November 19, 2012

Suspicious powder sent to at least 4 businesses

Police: 'Mentally ill' Haverhill man eyed in investigation

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He opened the card, and the white powder fell onto his desk. He described the amount of powder as “about the size of my small finger.” He said the card was unsigned.

Edwards said he didn’t panic, but simply called police, who he said responded immediately, sending officers to his office. The station is about 100 feet from his office, on the opposite side of How Street.

“You hear about things like this as to what’s the right thing to do,” said Edwards, who is also chairman of the city’s License Commission. “I called police, and they came.”

Edwards said investigators asked him about a specific person’s name, and that he told them he did not recognize it. Asked if he could think of any reason why someone would choose him to send him such a card, Edwards said he had no idea.

“I do have a big ad in the phone book with my photo,” he said.

Methuen Police received the first report of an envelope containing a suspicious white powder about 8 a.m. yesterday. The white powder spilled from an envelope mailed to the Home Depot at The Loop. Methuen Fire Department Deputy Dennis Fragala said the envelope was placed in the mail bin at Home Depot with the morning mail at the front of the store.

He said the mail is then typically sent by workers from the front of the store to the bookkeeping department in the back of the store through a pneumatic tube. When employees in the bookkeeping department opened the envelope, the white powder spilled out onto a desk.

When firefighters arrived, they quarantined three employees from the front of the store and three others in the bookkeeping department who had come in contact with the material. They were sitting in the “siding” aisle near the back of the store for several hours yesterday morning, awaiting the test results. Nobody was sickened from their exposure the substance, Fragala said.

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