Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Suspicious Letter to Church Brings Haz Mat Team to EPD

A letter sent to an Easton church containing an unknown crystalline substance caused a section of the parking garage in the Downtown district to be shut down for more than two hours this afternoon.

Police say that at approximately 1:10 p.m., they were summoned to the lobby of the Easton Police Department station where a pastor had brought a letter and envelope that had been mailed to her local church in because it contained a suspicious crystal substance.

As a precaution, the items were placed in a plastic container and removed from the station, to the back of the building outside, police said.

The Easton Fire Department, along with Northampton County Emergency Management and the Lehigh County Hazardous Materials Unit, were then called to the scene. Additionally, the area behind the police station, within the parking garage, was closed to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

At 3:31 p.m., the Lehigh County Hazardous Material Unit determined that the substance was non-hazardous.

Easton Police Lieutenant Samuel Lobb said later that the substance was probably sugar. He added the envelope indicated the letter had been mailed from the State Correctional Institute at Graterford.

Police are continuing to investigate and no arrests have been made in connection to the incident, they said.

Lobb said, given that whoever sent the letter is most likely already incarcerated and that the substance was benign, it's unlikely that charges will filed in the case.

Updated at 10:39 p.m. to add information regarding the source of the letter and that the crystalline substance was most likely sugar.

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