UPDATE: Dangerous turn in suspicious device case, reward raised - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UPDATE: Dangerous turn in suspicious device case, reward raised

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

RUSK COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A serious turn has been made in the investigation of suspicious devices at several East Texas post offices. Postal inspectors and the ATF are increasing the reward for information leading to an arrest.

The devices started out similar to Molotov cocktails, but now seem to have graduated to something even more dangerous.

Investigators say the device found Tuesday was different from the ones found during the past few weeks. The series of "suspicious devices" began in Owentown on March 9th, when a Molotov cocktail-like device was found in a processing center. At least nine liquid filled bottles soon showed up in Kilgore, Price, Henderson, and Harrison Counties.

Then, Tuesday night, a pipe bomb-like device was found near a Laird Hill post office.

A Dallas bomb squad was called in to investigate.

"Fortunately for us and unfortunately for criminals, they don't understand that whether they are as careful as they can be, they leave evidence behind and we will use that evidence to find them and prosecute them," said Kenneth Chisholm, an ATF agent.

"It's not something that's terribly difficult to construct but it can cause massive, massive injuries should anyone be near it," said Amanda McMurrey, with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. "There are ways to handle an item you feel may be an explosive device so we need to ensure that our employees remember what to do in these cases."

Local postmasters have spoken with employees this week on precautionary measures and what to do when a device is found.

Inspectors are now calling this a priority investigation and say they will not rest until the person responsible is in custody.

Those responsible already face charges of destruction of federal property, however the U.S Attorney's Office may prosecute further if they see fit.

U.S. Postal Inspectors say they are now offering $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for placing suspicious devices in blue USPS collection boxes in the East Texas area.

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