White powder scare in second Lake County community
LEESBURG, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A church in Leesburg, Florida has become the latest place someone sent white powder in an envelope. Lake County officials are responding to a rash of these threats.
It’s becoming a weekly drill for county emergency crews. White powder pranksters, sending scares across the area. Teams rolled in wearing white hazmat suits, evacuating buildings and causing chaos all around.
“This has been going on in Leesburg for a few months, now,” said Battalion Chief Ryan Henry, from Leesburg Fire Rescue.
This week alone, the EMS office in Mount Dora was hit, then the Social Security office in Leesburg. Just Thursday, someone send a packet of powder to the First Baptist Church in Leesburg. Over the past four months there were more than a dozen scares, each time turning out to be a hoax.
“The note said it was anthrax,” Henry said, “it turned out to be baking soda.”
Henry said they’re taking no chances. “We had to contact the FBI, the Post Office, Homeland Security, and multiple agencies showed up to help out,” he said.
Deputies said they're working to see if the pranks are connected and who's the mystery mailer behind them. They say the bottom line is that no one here is laughing.
“Whether it's something that's legitimate or what Florida statute describes as a 'Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction,' it still falls under that statute,” said Sgt. Fred Jones, with the Lake County Sheriff's Office,
“and it's a very serious crime.”
The FBI is heading up the investigation into each of these incidents.