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Erie County DA investigating bomb threat sent to office

File Photo

Someone sent the Erie County District Attorney's office a bomb threat letter that included a white powder. DA John Flynn says he has a lot of people investigating the letter, which was sent from a state prison.

Opened by a staffer Monday morning, a full scale bomb and terror threat reaction kicked in until a quick lab test discovered the powdery substance to be shaved soap.

"The poor girl who opened that envelope is shook up and I'm worried about her," Flynn said.

He said the name on the envelope and inmate number is that of an alleged member of the Bloods street gang who is serving a long prison sentence. However, the letter is signed with an arabic name and ISIS. It is not clear if the two different names are the same individual.

That is being looked at by investigators at the DA's office, who are all former police officers. Flynn said the letter tried to show the writer was serious.

"You should take my threat seriously because I have included in this letter a sign that I'm serious," Flynn read. "The sign that he included in the letter was a cellophane wrapper that was wrapped around a white, powdery substance."

The DA said if he can prove who the letter was from, that individual might have to stay behind bars far longer than he is slated to right now.

"This matter is being investigated, fully and, if warranted and I find out who exactly did this, charges will be filed against this individual," Flynn said. "I don't care how long he's in prison for, I will file additional charges and make sure he's in prison a lot longer."

The prosecutor said that would send a message to the wider community of the price for doing something like this.

Flynn said there are a lot of potential charges. He said the letter is a direct attack on the people who work in the Old County Hall and in his office, along with members of the public who come to the building every day.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.