NYPD issues warning after five Manhattan schools receive suspicious powder letters in eight days

crimescenetodd (6)
File photo by Todd Maisel

The NYPD issued a public alert Thursday night after five schools in Manhattan received suspicious packages containing powder in an eight-day span.

Police said the envelopes were sent through the U.S. Postal Service and received by the unidentified schools between March 10 and March 18. Each package was a plain white envelope with the address handwritten in block letters and containing an unidentified white, powdery substance.

Though police determined that the substance was not harmful in each case, the incidents seem to mimic the anthrax letter attacks that occurred in the weeks after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.  

“It appears that the motive of the sender” in the latest suspicious package spree in Manhattan “is to cause disruption and alarm,” according to an NYPD statement issued Thursday night.

According to sources familiar with the investigation, the packages were to the following locations:

  • 220 East 67th St. on the Upper East Side on March 10.
  • 747 Amsterdam Ave. (Montclare Children’s School) on the Upper West Side on March 11.
  • 711 Amsterdam Ave. (River Park Nursery School) on the Upper West Side on March 16.
  • 111 East 33rd St. (High School of the Liberal Arts, Manhattan) in Kips Bay on March 18.
  • 601 Amsterdam Ave. (NY Kids Club) on the Upper West Side on March 18.

No arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation. The cases have been classified, thus far, as aggravated harassment.

Anyone with information about the incidents is urged to call the city’s Terrorism Hotline at 888-NYC-SAFE.

If you receive a suspicious package, or an envelope fitting the description that police provided, do not open it. The NYPD advises that you leave the package where it was found and call 911. Clear the area where the package is located, and instruct anyone who touched it to immediately wash their hands and other exposed skin with soap and water.

More from around NYC