Newtown business employee becomes ill after opening suspicious letter

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 3:47 PM EST
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NEWTOWN, Ohio (WXIX) - A Newtown business was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after an employee became ill while opening a suspicious letter, the police chief said.

Chief Tom Synan says the letter was received at the Village Post near Main and Debolt streets.

The employee noticed a damaged package and pulled out the letter from inside, the chief said.

Synan says the letter, which contained vulgar language, had a strong, distinct odor and burned the employee’s eyes and face.

Four people had to be evacuated from the business.

Chief Synan says the employee who handled the letter was checked out and is going to be okay.

“We did have a photo of the letter, and we did confirm that it was suspicious in nature, mostly because it seemed like a piece of junk mail, but the person was extremely upset... used a lot of vulgar language on the letter,” Synan said. “And there was a piece of cellophane that was attached to it.”

The U.S. Postal Inspector says initial testing does not indicate there was any chemical or gas inside the letter but further tests are being performed just in case.

Synan says it may have been an instance of “misguided anger” after the person who sent the letter back got upset at receiving letters of that kind. “Obviously this person wanted to send a message back. [...]And it probably caused some unintended consequences.”

One side of Main Street was shut down as a precaution but the road has since been reopened.

“It’s concerning,” said resident Garrett Bergen. “The employees here are super nice, and I don’t feel strange or anything after being in there, but hopefully everything is ok.”

Bergen says it makes him a little nervous returning to the building.

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