Elgin, Ill., anthrax hoax letter came from prison inmate

A prison inmate is allegedly responsible for recently sending a threatening letter filled with white powder to an appellate court in Elgin, Illinois.

The letter, which turned out to be harmless, contained a credible threat, according to police and officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to CourierNews.SunTimes.com.

Elgin police spokeswoman Sue Olafson confirmed that the letter arrived at the courthouse via the U.S. Postal Service and had been sent from a correctional facility in southern Illinois.

Appellate Court Clerk Bob Managan told CourierNews.SunTimes.com that the letter was sent from the Tamms Correctional Center and that the message called for death to all judges. Olafson would not confirm Tamms as the origin of the letter.

Tamms includes a “super max” facility that houses some of the state’s worst offenders.

“Offenders approved for placement at the Tamms C-Max have demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to conform to the requirements of a general population facility,” according to the Illinois Department of Corrections website.

Within an hour of the letter being opened, streets in the area surrounding the courthouse had been cordoned off and ambulances and fire department hazardous-materials equipment arrived in large numbers, CourierNews.SunTimes.com reports.

Thirty people, including two police officers and three fire fighters, who may have been exposed to the powder were held in quarantine for hours. They were scrubbed with decontaminating sprays and taken for examination at local hospitals.

Olafson said that no one had been harmed and all were sent home by the evening’s end. The courthouse will remain closed until the final results of the testing are received.