Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports that on Friday, May 20, 2011, at approximately 5:35 p.m., a questionable package was delivered to New York State Senator Gregory Ball’s office, located at 1441 Route 22 in the Town of Southeast. The package, received by a receptionist, was delivered by a commercial delivery service. Consisting of a 12-by-16-inch envelope; it was addressed to the senator with a return address from Dubai (United Arab Emirates) by way of Pakistan. The package was deemed suspicious as it was unexpected and the sender unknown. The sheriff’s office responded and conducted a threat assessment: The item was isolated and the building evacuated and searched while investigators from the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, bomb disposal technicians from the Westchester County Police bomb squad, and members from the Brewster Fire Department and New York State Police were summoned for assistance.
Deputies and state troopers closed Route 22 and Milltown Road and diverted traffic away from the area for approximately three hours. A staging area was established within a safe distance from the senator’s office. At approximately 7 p.m., Lt. James Luciano of the Westchester County Police bomb squad, arrived at the scene and coordinated the investigation with sheriff’s investigators. Bomb-detecting dogs conducted a comprehensive search of the premises while bomb-disposal technicians, using x-ray equipment, visually inspected the contents of the package. It was determined that the package was non-threatening in nature and did not contain any hazardous materials. When opened, the envelope contained a book titled Mannerisms of My Sire, a literary work relating to the values of the Prophet Mohammad and other Islamic views, written by Ameer Hamza, a renowned Islamic scholar. It also contained a letter written to Ball voicing concerns over a recent legislative hearing that the senator, a Republican, chaired in New York City.
Behind The Story
News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.