NEW YORK - The source of an apparent Super Hoax during Super Bowl week appears to have Toronto roots.
On a day in which a series of letters containing mysterious white powder were shipped to various hotels in New Jersey near MetLife Stadium - site of Super Bowl XLVIII - a similar one arrived Friday at the Manhattan office of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The letter was postmarked from Toronto and contained a name and return address. New York law enforcement officials were in touch with Canadian authorities to pursue the source of the letter, police said.
A New York police spokesman told reporters that the letter sent to Giuliani’s office contained a “non-toxic substance,” which later was said to have been identified as sand. The contents of the letter “did not appear threatening,” a New York police spokesman said, adding that the letter included the line, “always in my thoughts.”
Eight employees in the mailroom underwent precautionary decontamination procedures, but fortunately did not have any signs of nausea.
The FBI In New York tweeted Friday afternoon: “Substances in suspicious letters in New York and New Jersey deemed non-hazardous. Additional testing to come.”
There was no indication that any of the other letters came from Toronto.
From the moment the letters arrived, authorities were not taking any chances. Hazardous materials teams and bomb squads were quickly dispatched to handle the situation.
“We have been through things like this on numerous occassions since 9-11 and we have a protocol in place on how to handle them,” said Giuliani from the Super Bowl Media Headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
“We have the best police force in the world.”
According to East Rutherford mayor James Cassella, the contents of one letter sent to the Homewood Suites in East Rutherford, N.J., was tested and determined to be cornstarch.
In a statement, the New Jersey State Police said: “The Joint Terrorism Task Force and Hazard Materials units have responded to several locations that have received a suspicious letter and substance. There are no reported injuries at this time, and the locations are being secured.”
Among the seven New Jersey locations receiving letters were two hotels in Lyndhurst, two in Carlstadt, one in East Rutherford, and one in Hasbrouck Heights. A similar letter with a white powder was also discovered at the United States Postal Service in Rutherford, law enforcement authorities said.
East Rutherford is the town where MetLife Stadium is situated.
The incidents come just two days before the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks lock horns in Super Bowl XLVIII, an event which will feature unprecedented security measures.
There will be bomb-sniffing dogs on the ground while fighter jets and helicopters fly overhead. Every delivery to the stadium will be escorted by police. There are even high-speed boats in local waterways, including the Hudson River with radiological detection and infrared sensors.
In the months leading up to the game, thousands of background checks were conducted on stadium workers.