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Suspicious substance proves harmless in scare at Board of Elections

There were tense moments in the late morning and early afternoon Monday at the offices of the Erie County Board of Elections, where a suspicious substance was discovered in a piece of mail.

The offices at 134 West Eagle Street were evacuated after an employee reported a suspicious powdery substance while sorting the morning mail. Numerous agencies responded to the scene shortly before noon.

"Buffalo Police, Buffalo Fire, Buffalo Hazmat and Erie County Hazmat responded, as well as a response from the FBI's Hazardous Task Force, as well as the Postal Inspector's Task Force," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. "Testing was done on site and determined not to be hazardous, thankfully."

West Eagle Street was closed for a period of time, between South Elmwood and Delaware Avenues. Employees were allowed back inside shortly after the substance in question was deemed harmless.

The investigation continues.

"Hopefully it's just a false alarm, but there will be further investigation to determine if someone tried to scare the living daylights out of folks, which in itself is a crime," Poloncarz said.

Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr and Democrat Jeremy Zellner expressed their gratitude to first responders, noting the heavy volume of mail being received as the election approaches.


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