Open for delivery

After wave of pipe bomb incidents, Postal Service asks people to leave mailboxes open

By Phil Rooney

Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Less than six months after an anthrax scare rocked the U.S. Postal Service, mail carriers have a new form of terrorism on their hands: pipe bombs.

Mail carriers were expected to return to their routes today with a heightened sense of caution following the discovery of 15 mailbox pipe bombs across the Midwest since Friday, authorities said.


The postal service asked customers in Nebraska, Iowa and northwest Illinois with roadside delivery to secure their mailbox doors open or remove the doors to ensure service.

"We are instructing our carriers not to deliver to any closed receptacles," said Mike Matuzek, U.S. Postal Service district manager for Nebraska and southwest Iowa.

Matuzek called it a temporary precaution while the investigation continues. Locked mailboxes like the ones in post offices will have normal mail delivery.

"It is deplorable," he said. "It brings a lot of innocent people into the fray of this thing where they really don't belong."

Six people were injured by explosions in Illinois and Iowa on Friday. Two other bombs found in Iowa did not explode. Then, six bombs were found Saturday in rural areas of Nebraska, and a seventh was found Sunday. They were all later detonated harmlessly by authorities.

An anti-government note found with the bombs warned of more "attention getters," and federal authorities described the bombs as an act of domestic terrorism.

"The individual claims that they're trying to contact the government or get in touch with them, but using a means like this with pipe bombs ... that's not the way to get the message across," FBI agent Jim Bogner told CBS' "The Early Show."

In addition to the real bombs, one fake bomb was found Sunday in Nebraska, and an 18-year-old man was arrested in the prank, the postal service said.


Roger Humphries, a postal service spokesman, declined to describe the latest devices out of concern such information might prompt further hoaxes, he said.

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