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Albany County Sheriff concerned about potential copycat bomb packages

October 24, 2018 11:25 PM

ALBANY - Albany County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a suspicious package at the Jewish Community Center on Whitehall Road Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Craig Apple said it was a false alarm and completely unrelated to the other bombs sent to prominent democratic leaders and CNN in New York City.

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However, Apple said coverage of those packages has him worried about potential local copycats.

Apple said unfortunately, it's not uncommon.

"It is a concern, again somebody's probably sitting there going, 'Oh you know I can do this, just to try to scare them or get a rise out of them,” Apple said.

Apple said though no credible threats have been discovered, they've stepped up security at locations like the Albany International Airport.

"We have x-ray devices, we have explosive K9's so we're prepared for something like this,” Apple said.

Apple said political leaders and entities are often targeted. He said that was made evident over the summer when shots were fired at the Albany County Democratic Headquarters.

As always, if you see something, say something.

"We'll get through it like ebbs and flows but again people are probably concerned right now,” Apple said. “What do I do if a package comes? Call the police if you weren't supposed to get a package, contact us."

A representative for the United States Postal Inspection Service said they have a Dangerous Mail Investigations or DMI Program. DMI inspectors are trained to recognize the common characteristics of suspicious mail and are highly proficient in the use of state-of-the-art equipment.

The USPIS issued this full statement in response to the bomb packages:

"The U.S. Postal Service has developed a comprehensive approach to protecting the mailsystem by utilizing a targeted strategy of specialized technology, screening protocols and employee training. The Postal Inspection Service has organized response teams nationwide for investigating suspicious parcels through our Dangerous Mail Investigations (DMI) Program. DMI Inspectors are trained to recognize the common characteristics of suspicious mail and are highly proficient in the use of state-of-the-art equipment to include portable X-ray machines. Any reports of suspicious mailings are taken very seriously, as they may impact the safety of postal employees and disrupt the processing of mail. We strive to provide a safe and secure mailsystem, preserve the integrity of the mail, and, most importantly, ensure a safe environment for postal employees, Postal Service customers, and the American public. In order to prevent attempts to compromise the effectiveness of our investigative methods, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service does not comment publicly on our investigative procedures and operational protocols."

So, should copycats try to carry out something similar in the Capital Region.

"We'll catch him, we'll find them, but in the meantime we don't want people to live in fear either," Apple said. "This is the world we live in now so everybody just pay attention to your surroundings, be vigilant and call us I mean that's what we get paid to do."

You can also text tips to the Albany County Sheriff’s Department now on the Albany County Sheriff’s Office app which is available in the Android and Apple app stores.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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