by Emily Rand, an Associate Producer of the CBS News Investigative Unit in New York.
"suspicious devices" were discovered in a blue post office collection box and a
According to documents obtained by CBS News, at least 17 devices ranging from pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails to "hangman style" nooses, have been found in United States Postal Service collection boxes and mailboxes since March 9 of this year. U.S.Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey said they have been finding the devices since January 1.
The investigation is ongoing, but officials say the construction of the devices indicate the incidents are connected.
"The vast majority of these incidents are linked based on the perpetrators' method of operations," said Tom Crowley, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
boxes outside the main post offices in
ATF hasn't yet released the total number of devices that have been found,
which is working the case with USPS, has dispatched additional units to
"This is a priority investigation for both the Postal Inspection Service and the ATF and we are leaving no stone unturned," Postal Inspector McMurrey said.
In the wake of yesterday's discoveries, ATF and USPS raised their reward for information relating to the persons responsible for the devices from $10,000 to $25,000.
To date, officials say there is no suspect in the case.
So far none of the devices have detonated and all have been safely disabled. Although several devices have been active, bomb squads have determined others to be hoaxes.
Anyone with information regarding suspicious activity around blue collection boxes or the person(s) responsible for these acts can contact the Postal Inspection Service's East Texas Tip Line at 817-359-2719, or the toll-free number, 877-876-2455, option 2.
Incidents in March:
March 9, 2010
IEDs were found in collection boxes at six locations in the
In addition, ATF reported up to 20 additional devices have been placed at other locations not associated with the mail and postal facilities.
March 15, 2010
Four "hangman's nooses" were found inside collection boxes in Gladewater, TX, the main post office in Tyler, TX, the SE Crossing Finance Unit in Tyler, TX, the Azalea Station in Tyler, TX. In addition, five Molotov cocktails were found outside Henderson main Post Office.
March 23, 2010
Two Molotov cocktail devices discovered in Marshall TX, one outside the Marshall Main Post Office, the other in a collection box on E. Travis St.
March 25, 2010
found in a collection box in front of
March 30, 2010
device found in customer mailbox in
March 30, 2010
in a USPS collection box in