Local post offices taking bomb precautions | VailDaily.com

Local post offices taking bomb precautions

Cliff Thompson

Local postal officials and residents are on alert.

Vail’s eight postal carriers and Gypsum’s one carrier are under instructions to avoid delivering mail to boxes that are not left open to reveal if anything has been placed inside them. The three-quarter-inch pipe bombs, apparently placed by hand in mailboxes, are approximately 6 inches long. They did not get distributed through the mail.

“We need to protect mail carriers,” said Vail Delivery Supervisor Karen Boita. “It’s scary.”

Boita knows about the terrible power pipe bombs contain. She lost a friend in Grand Junction several years ago to a pipe bomb.

The travelling bomber apparently has hand-delivered the explosive devices on a route stretching from Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska to Colorado. Law enforcement officials on Tuesday arrested the primary suspect in the case, a 21-year-old college student, Luke John Helder from Pine Island, Minn.

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Explosions have injures six people, and authorities and have found a total of 17 bombs. Some of the bombs were accompanied by anti-government notes.

Long-time Salida resident Martha Quillen probably spoke for many.

“It’s kind of surprising how much you think a thing like that can’t happen here,” she said.

Quillen said she and others are waiting for the other shoe to drop because the pipe bombs have been found in groups of eight.

In Minturn, just a 90-minute drive from Salida, Postmaster Jim Madrill said he’s not had to worry about the safety of his mail carriers because the town does not provide rural or city delivery.

But Madrill said he does worry a mailbox in his front yard he keeps for “decorative” purposes. He’s not taking any chance, however.

“This morning I opened it very carefully and then removed it from the post,” he said. “Nobody’s gonna put a bomb in my mailbox.”

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