FBI asks for help in 15-year-old white powder case

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public's help to find the sender of 21 white powder hoax letters in the vicinity of Syracuse, New York.

For the past 15 years, schools, businesses and government offices in Syracuse and throughout the East have been targeted by a series of sporadic white powder mailings that began long before the anthrax scares of 2001, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In an effort to find the perpetrator, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service recently announced that they are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in the case.

The powder in the letters has always been detergent, baby powder or some other type of non-hazardous material, but the letters claim to contain anthrax spores.

An FBI profile points to a Syracuse-area man who is at least 35 years old, has difficulty functioning independently and has probably had significant contact with the mental health system. His behavior most likely causes people to avoid him and he may talk of ideas that seem out of context. In addition, he may often discuss his annoyance with junk mail or fundraising activities, according to Syracuse.com.

FBI Special Agent Dan Capone said that the author of the letters has no clear agenda or cause and that his point changes from letter to letter. He added that many of the letters contain passages and references to American horror author H.P. Lovecraft, who died in 1937.