2nd apparent pipe bomb found in east Texas mailbox, incendiary devices investigation ongoing

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2nd apparent pipe bomb found in east Texas mailbox

TROUP, Texas — An object resembling a pipe bomb was found in a mailbox in front of a small east Texas post office Thursday, the second such incident in three days, authorities said.

Federal officials have acknowledged that they are investigating a series of apparent incendiary devices placed in east Texas mailboxes in the past month.

Authorities said the device found Thursday in Troup, about 100 miles east of Dallas, appeared similar one found Tuesday in a collection box in front of a post office in Laird Hill, 20 miles to the northeast. The Laird Hill device was explosive before bomb-disposal experts rendered it safe, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman Tom Crowley said.

A postal employee found the Troup device about 1 p.m. Thursday, Police Chief Pat Hendrix said.

“The employee went to collect the mail and found the device,” Hendrix told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “They then notified us. We secured a perimeter and called the ATF.”

Postal inspectors and ATF agents summoned a bomb-disposal team. Further details about the device were not available as of early evening.

Crowley and U.S. Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey declined to estimate the number of apparent incendiary devices found in mail collection boxes around east Texas in the past month, but reports from various law enforcement agencies put the number at at least 11.

Before the two apparent pipe bombs, authorities had reported finding bottles filled with flammable liquid and topped with wicks.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the ATF have said $5,000 would be offered for information leading to convictions after bottles were found in Henderson, Kilgore and Tyler, about 90 miles east of Dallas.

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