Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The FBI and the United State Postal Inspection Service are joining forces to try to close a puzzling case. For years, letters containing white powder have arrived at addresses in Syracuse and several other places, leaving the recipients fearful of contamination, including anthrax.
Special agents are turning to the public, hoping they can finally find out who is sending some or all of the letters. A flyer has been released promising a $10,000 reward. The flyer also shows several pictures showing handwriting samples and symbols included in some of the mailings. Scroll through our album to see the photos.
The text of the flyer released is as follows:
SEEKING THE PUBLIC'S ASSISTANCE. UP TO $10,000 REWARD.
Since late 1997 a series of 21 letters containing white powder were mailed to addresses in Syracuse and other cities in the Eastern United States. None contained hazardous material.
The letters were mailed to a high school, college, non-profit groups, military and law enforcement member associations, government officials and offices, TV celebrities, and private businesses. A number of letters bore return addresses of private citizens with no connection to the case, disrupting their lives as well.
The individual responsible is likely a male, 35 years or older, who lives in the Syracuse area. He mailed the letters in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2010, 2011, and 2012. There have been periods of time during which no letters were received. These time gaps may indicate an inability or lack of perceived need to engage in this behavior due to any number of factors, including illness, treatment, supervision or incarceration or other reasons unknown.
This person is likely seen as odd or eccentric, and his behavior could cause people to avoid him. He may articulate strange ideas that seem out of context. He may voice frustration or annoyance at fundraising or "junk" mail. He may have difficulty functioning independently, and probably has had significant contact with the mental health care system.
The letters referenced AIDS, anthrax, ricin, politics, abortion rights, 9/11 conspiracy theories, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, war crimes and atrocities, the 1993 Branch Davidian incident in Texas, religion, oppression of Muslims, degradation of women, and home-shopping TV shows. Many letters feature drawings of daggers or single eyes. There are also references to the science fiction and horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
Our investigative techniques enable us to definitively rule out all innocent parties. If you have information about this case you need not be concerned about causing trouble for someone who is not involved.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI are offering a reward of up to $ 10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, prosecution, and conviction of the subject of this investigation.
All information will remain strictly confidential.