More pipe bombs found in Nebraska

Sunday, May 5, 2002

OHIOWA, Neb. -- Five pipe bombs were found Saturday in rural Nebraska mailboxes, heightening fears among Midwesterners already on edge after similar bombs injured six people in Iowa and Illinois the day before, authorities said.

Federal officials had described the earlier bombings as an act of domestic terrorism and said anti-government propaganda and notes warning of more "attention getters" were found nearby.

It appeared that the five devices discovered Saturday also were accompanied by letters, at least one of them identical to those found in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois, FBI Special Agent Jim Bogner said.

Unlike the bombs found Friday, authorities said, none of the Nebraska bombs exploded.

After Saturday's discoveries, postal inspectors in Iowa and Illinois curtailed inspections planned for thousands of mailboxes. Mail was suspended in the area and officials did not say how soon if would resume.

"We're using all of our resources for investigation and apprehension of whoever is responsible," said Rick Bowdren, inspector-in-charge of the Midwest division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Increased suspicions

He urged people across the Midwest to use caution in opening their mailboxes and said anyone who sees tape, wire or anything unusual around a mailbox should report it their local post office.

"We are asking postal patrons to keep their mailboxes open. We would recommend they tape it open," Bowdren said. "That way the carrier making a delivery can look in and patrons can look in and that anxiety factor will be alleviated."

The devices found Saturday, near the central Nebraska towns of Ohiowa, Columbus, Dannebrog, Davenport and Scotia, had been placed in the mailboxes, not sent through the mail, said Weysan Dun, assistant special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Omaha office. He said four were found by mail carriers and one was discovered by a resident.

"For the individuals or individuals who may have been responsible for this and who may be listening: You have gotten our attention," Dun said. "We are not certain we understand your message. We would like to hear from you. You do not need to send any more of these devices."

Earlier Saturday, Bogner said authorities had some leads on who may have planted pipe bombs in at least eight rural mailboxes in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois on Friday, but they didn't know if one person or several people were responsible.

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