Mysterious Letters Sent to UC Irvine Campus

On Monday, Jan. 4, two alarming letters were found in faculty mailboxes, containing white powder inside next to the words “Black Death.” As of today, Jan. 7, there have been a total of five letters found, each identical both in description and Idaho return address. Each letter was removed carefully by the Irvine Fire Dept. and were tested on-site for whether or not the powders were bio-hazardous. None of the letters thus far have proven to be bio-hazardous and FBI, UCI Police Department and postal inspectors are all currently investigating the source of the letters. Most recently, UCIPD’s Chief of Police, Paul Henisey sent a message to all students reading:

"Yesterday (January 6), a fifth suspicious envelope was discovered (but
not opened) by UC Irvine staff working in the Arts, Culture, and
Technology building.  The letter was addressed to a male faculty
member in the School of the Arts.  Alert staff detected a granular
substance in the envelope and called UCI police.  The powder will be
tested.  Powder from four identical envelopes received by UCI
employees -- two discovered Monday and two more opened Tuesday -- has
been analyzed and was found to be harmless.  No one has become ill.

We anticipate additional letters that originate in Idaho, contain the
white powder, and include the words "Black Death" will be
discovered.  Please use caution when examining incoming mail.  If you
receive an envelope with an Idaho postmark from someone you do not
know, do not open it; immediately call 911 or the UCI Police
Department at (949) 824-5223. 

Plastic bags for handling items that you feel are suspicious, but do
not meet the criteria described above, were delivered to campus mail
stations yesterday.  UCI employees are encouraged to return these
unopened items to Distribution and Document Management in the plastic
bags provided per the instructions included with the bags.  Full
procedures for handling suspicious mail can be viewed at
http://www.ddm.uci.edu."
A new, more detailed update from the New University should be available online by Monday, Jan. 11 and on news stands by Tueday, Jan. 12.