Anthrax scare in N.J.

Several businesses in Lakewood, N.J., were evacuated on Monday following the reception of a threatening letter and a suspicious powder.

The envelope was received by Gaspari Nutrition, Sgt. Louis Sasso told

"The letter had white powder in it, and it also threatened a bomb explosion if they didn't give a sum of money," Sasso said.

Testing revealed that the powder was not a biological or chemical hazard, Sasso added, and the bomb was "nonexistent," reports. The sender of the letter is not yet known.

"It's still being investigated," Sasso said.

One officer who was sent into Gaspari Nutrition in a protective suit and gas mask to alert employees of the evacuation was sent to the hospital with complications arising from heat.

"I was on the phone at my desk, and all of a sudden through the back warehouse comes a police officer with a gas mask on, screaming — screaming — for us to get out of the building (because) this is an emergency," Susan Alpert, who works in a building near Gaspari Nutrition, told "His eyes were wild, scared, which made us scared."

Alpert added that evacuated employees were told their cars were too close to the businesses and in danger of contamination. After about 90 minutes, she told, "We were finally allowed to run as fast as we could to our cars and get out as fast as possible."

In addition to local police, the bioterror scare drew in state police, the FBI, the Berkely hazardous materials team and the Ocean County Sheriff's Department k-9 unit.