May 2, 2014 1:34 pm

Edmonton police investigating suspicious package incidents

EDMONTON – After two discoveries of white powder that turned out to be non-dairy creamer on Wednesday, several more findings since then have prompted comment from Edmonton police.

At around 9 a.m. Friday morning, fire crews, police and HazMAT crews were called to the Stollery Children’s Hospital where another suspicious package was found.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., a similar discovery was made at EPS Headquarters.

A spokesperson for the Edmonton Fire Rescue HazMAT team said there were no evacuations Friday morning.

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“The letter was contained to a secure room in the basement of the building so there was no concern for public safety,” she explained.

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) says it is investigating five similar suspicious package incidents in the last three days.

“Nothing, up to date, has been explosive,” said Acting Sgt. Kevin Neumeier, with the EPS Explosive Disposal Team.

He said there have been five separate incidents over the last three days where suspicious packages have been found in mail-rooms sent to businesses.

“It appears that the mail was delivered on the same day,” said Neumeier, adding that police believe the packages were sent from the same location.

Neumeier would not comment on the letters or any details about the investigation.

He did say the material inside did not pose a risk to the public.

“All I can say is it’s not hazardous.”

“The general public… their safety has not been in jeopardy.”

“It’s very frustrating from our standpoint. It is a huge drain on our resources.”

“We have to treat every incident as if it were real,” added Neumeier. “It ties up a lot of man hours… of police and the fire department.”

He added that the person or people responsible could face – at the very least – a charge of mischief which could include jail time and/or a fine.

On Wednesday, the main floor of the Law Courts were evacuated after white powder was found inside a traffic ticket payment.

Later that day, a similar incident played out across the street. Fire fighters determined a suspicious package at the Brownlee Building was also non-dairy creamer.

“Any time you tie up resources like this, it’s definitely not an innocent prank,” said Dave Matwichuk, with Edmonton Fire Rescue, on Wednesday. “I mean, HazMAT is an integral part of our fire service and we respond to a lot of calls throughout the day.”

On Thursday, crews were once again called out to a similar incident at a law building just after 1 p.m.

Officials explain that every time an incident involving a suspicious package occurs, fire, EMS, HazMAT, and police responds.

In these cases, the same test on the material has been done at each scene, and in all cases, it has turned out to be non-hazardous material.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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