Hazmat crews summoned to Starbucks

By Linda Bentley | October 29, 2008

Suspicious substance found at Summit location
SCOTTSDALE – The day after the FBI began investigating letters containing white powder sent to ten Chase bank branches in Phoenix and to other branches across the country, Starbucks at the Summit shopping center was evacuated last Thursday morning after an employee found white powder inside a roll of quarters.

StarbucksSummitHazmat crews later determined the substance was not harmful but took it to a state lab for further investigation. None of the employees exposed to the substance showed any signs of illness and the coffee shop was reopened hours later.

Authorities believe the letters, all postmarked in Amarillo, Texas, were all sent by the same source. The angry letters, an apparent reaction to the recent financial crisis, stated in all caps, “Steal tens of thousands of people’s money and not expect reprercussions (sic). It’s payback time. What you just breathed in will kill you in ten days. Thank (name redacted by FBI) and the FDIC for your demise.”

The white powder proved to be harmless in all cases, some of which were determined to contain calcium.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person who mailed the letters.

Photo by Linda Bentley