HOUSTON – The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Houston Police Department and the Houston Fire Department assisted the FBI in Houston in a review of suspicious mail sent to Houston Jewelry, including two letters hazmat crews inspected on Tuesday.
The dozen or so pieces of mail, some containing substances, have been sent to the Houston store over the last week-and-a-half from a man named Arthur in Redding, California.
“When I opened it, there were white crystals in the package,” said Jean Robingston, the Houston Jewelry secretary who opened the first letter.
“I’ve seen anthrax, I knew it wasn’t anthrax,” she added. “but you never know what it is.”
Houston Fire Department hazmat crews determined the substance in the first letter was a type of dishwasher detergent, Houston Jewelry President Rex Solomon said.
“We can confirm that we are aware of the incident,” FBI Houston said in a statement. “If during the FBI’s review of the matter, it is determined that a violation of federal law was committed, the FBI will proceed accordingly.”
The letters from California are incoherent at times: In one, he asks for cash “in the thousands,” complains about treatment at a Texas Roadhouse and asks for help with a social security problem.
“This person is apparently very disturbed,” Solomon said. “We don’t know why this person is reaching out to us. This person has no connection to us whatsoever.”
Houston Jewelry has no record of the man ever working at the store or buying anything from it, Solomon said. He (and KPRC 2) has only read one of the letters.
KPRC 2 chose not to publish the full name of the person, who has not been charged with a crime.
A representative from the Houston office of the U.S. Postal Inspector Service confirmed that its investigators are assisting the FBI.
“These days they are not taking anything for granted, anything has to be investigated,” Solomon said. “You don’t know where the next crazy is going to come from.”