Calif. man charged over anthrax hoax letters

A California man was recently charged with two felonies for sending letters filled with a white powder to the city halls in San Carlos and South San Francisco over the summer.

The letters prompted evacuations and frightened employees who had contact with the substance, which turned out to be harmless. Hazmat teams were sent in both instances, according to

Philip Harold Adams, Jr., was charged with two felony counts of sending a false weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors say that Adams appears to have mental problems, but have not speculated what caused him to send the letters, which contained foot powder.

“The whole thing was really weird,” San Carlos Assistant City Manager Brian Moura said, reports. “Inside the envelope with the powder was a stick of gum and a dollar bill.”

According to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, one of the letters reportedly contained Adams’ return address and another piece of identifying information that led police back to a hotel in Berkeley, California. In Adams’ hotel room, authorities found foot powder consistent with the kind used in the letters.

Adams pleaded not guilty to the charges in Superior court and a trial has been set for January 3. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.