Pranksters warned of long prison time

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, October 23, 2001

As authorities continue to investigate an anthrax hoax at aLincoln County industry Monday, they hope to bring charges againstthose responsible.

“District Attorney Danny Smith told me if we find out who didthis, he would prosecute to the max, which is 20 years,” saidBrookhaven Police Chief Arlustra “Pap” Henderson. “We’re not goingto put up with people playing these games with anthrax.”

The hoax was discovered between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Monday byemployees at Delphi-Packard on Industrial Park Road.

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“They (company officials) found white powder in two locations,and I advised them to seal those areas off,” Lincoln County CivilDefense-Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said.

The Brookhaven Police Department and Brookhaven Fire Departmentwere called to the scene, with firefighters in turnout gear, untilofficials with U.S. Environmental Services arrived from Jacksonaround 9:30 a.m., Galey stated.

They then found three more areas containing an unidentifiablewhite substance in the large building, Galey said.

“They followed procedures and went in and decontaminatedeverything,” he added.

Although authorities did not believe the substances to beharmful, they are taking the proper precautions in investigatingthe hoax.

“We do not believe there was anything to it, but they aresending samples from all five locations to the state lab to betested since we really don’t know exactly what it was,” Galeysaid.

Plant operations continued throughout the investigation, but noone was allowed in or out of the building until about 11 a.m.

“That was just a safety precaution,” Galey said, commendingemployees on how calm they remained during the initialinvestigation.

Authorities do not plan to test employees unless test resultsshow the substance was harmful, which officials do not expect.

The investigation will continue, and authorities are askinganyone with information about the federal crime to contact theBrookhaven Police Department at 833-2424.