White Powder Causes Scare At Three Hotels Near Super Bowl Site

Posted at 2:06 PM, Jan 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-31 15:10:51-05


New York (CNN) — Authorities Friday were investigating white powder scares at New Jersey hotels near the site of the Super Bowl and at the Manhattan office of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Hazardous materials teams and bomb squads responded after white powder was found at several hotels near New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, authorities said.

The contents of one letter sent to the Homewood Suites in East Rutherford, New Jersey, was tested and determined to be cornstarch, according to East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella.

A New York police spokesman said the letter sent to Giuliani’s office contained a “non-toxic substance.” Eight employees in the mailroom were decontaminated as a precaution, and no one has shown any sign of illness.

In a statement, the New Jersey State Police said: “The Joint Terrorism Task Force and Hazard Materials units have responded to several locations that have received a suspicious letter and substance. There are no reported injuries at this time, and the locations are being secured.”

The scares come amid tight security before Sunday’s game. More air marshals and behavioral detection officers, radiological detection teams and random baggage checks at transit hubs are among the security measures the federal Homeland Security Department deployed to help local police in New Jersey and New York secure the Super Bowl.

The stadium’s location near a major airport and busy commuter train lines presents security challenges. Unlike audiences for other championship games, spectators of Super Bowl XLVIII will rely heavily on mass transit.

Chris Murray, business management president at the Quality Inn in Lyndhurst, told CNN the hotel received a suspicious letter but he did not know what’s inside the envelope. He said local police were at the hotel and that Hazmat and a bomb squad were expected to examine the letter.

Murray said other hotels on the same corner in Lyndhurst also received suspicious envelopes — including the Renaissance and Marriott Courtyard.

The letter was sitting on a desk in his office, Murray said.

An unidentified substance was also delivered to two hotels in Carlstadt and one in East Rutherford, said Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff at the Bergen County Executive’s Office.

Law enforcement officials told CNN that six letters were discovered in New Jersey.

The FBI and local officials were monitoring the situation. Law enforcement officials said the incidents were considered a routine investigation, not a threat.