Letter and parcel bombs generally are “victim activated” meaning that a victim or intended target must activate the device by opening it. They do not normally contain timing devices.
Bombs can range from the size of a cigarette package to a large parcel. Letter and package bombs have been disguised as letters, books, candy, and figurines. Delivery methods have included mail systems, personal delivery, or placement at the recipient’s site.
A letter or parcel bomb might have some of the following indicators:
❑Suspicious origin—especially if the postmark or name of sender is unusual, unknown, or no further address is given.
❑ Excessive or inadequate postage.
❑ Off-balance or lopsided letter or package.
❑Unusual weight for the size of the letter or package. Letters also may be unusually thick.
❑Stiffness or springiness of contents. (When checking, do not bend excessively.)
❑Protruding wires or components; unusual grease or oil stains on the envelope.
❑Strange smell, particularly almond or other suspicious odors.
❑Handwriting of sender is not familiar or indicates a foreign style not normally received by recipient.
❑ Common words or names are misspelled.
❑ Rub on or block lettering.
❑Restrictive markings such as “confidential” or “personal” or an honorific title appended to the name of the addressee.
❑Small hole in the envelope or package wrapping that could be a provision for an arming/safety wire.
❑Rattling inside the envelope or package— possibly loose components of a device.
If you identify a letter or package as suspicious, don’t let anyone near it. Notify your RSO or PSO immediately, and leave the letter or package in an open area, such as a courtyard, where it is easily accessible to bomb squad personnel. Never submerge it in water.