KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is alerting financial firms of potential danger from a would-be letter bomber after companies in Kansas City and Denver were targeted with explosive devices and threatening notes, an agency spokeswoman said on Monday.
Working with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Postal Inspection service is trying to obtain contact information for thousands of financial companies to warn them of the threats, said spokeswoman Wanda Shipp.
“The events may be linked, and the recipients were probably not selected at random,” the postal advisory reads.
The government action comes after Stratfor, a global intelligence firm, last week issued a warning that pipe bombs addressed to American Century Investment Management Inc. in Kansas City and Janus Capital Group in Denver appeared linked to someone known as “the Bishop,” who has threatened at least six financial firms since 2005.
Stratfor vice president Fred Burton said the person behind the threats appears to be on a path to becoming the “next Unabomber,” a reference to Theodore Kaczynski who killed three people and injured 23 in a 17-year mail-bombing campaign before his arrest in 1996.
Burton said he knew of at least six threats made to financial firms and more have been made but not reported.
“We’re investigating all our leads,” said Shipp, who declined to give details of the Postal Inspection Service’s investigation which is working with FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Burton said a series of letters have demanded that certain companies take action to move specific stock prices to predetermined levels and talk of killings and kidnapping children if the demands aren’t met.
Government authorities would not discuss details of the wording in the notes.
American Century spokesman Chris Doyle said his company had enhanced security in response to the threat and was considering additional measures, which he would not specify.
He said the company did not know if there was a solid link to threats at other financial services firms.
“Our focus is on the safety of our employees,” he said. “It is not the type of thing we see in this line of work. We take it very seriously.”