Edition 31 January, by Raphael Perachi Vieira
In the last few weeks, several mail bombs and letters containing threats were sent to organisations in various Dutch cities. All the letters came from the same sender, but the person responsible is still unknown. A total of seven mail bombs and ten letters with threats were sent to business addresses in cities like Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Maastricht. Car companies, banks, hotels, gas stations and an estate agent have been targeted so far. Some companies received a warning letter, but no mail bomb.
The envelopes were made to look like they came from a collections agency called CIB, but according to the police, this agency has nothing to do with the incident. An address sticker with the agency’s logo was attached to the letters, but real letters sent by CIB don’t have a sticker. Instead, the agency’s logo is printed straight on the envelope, authorities warned. According to the police, the letters have a thicker part in the middle, hiding the explosive device.
Investigators say there are no clues as to the sender and officials cannot say anything about the content of the threats. The mail bombs contained some type of explosive that could have caused serious injuries. Fortunately, none of the bombs exploded and no one has been hurt.
One of the bombs was delivered to the Hotel Okura, on Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam. The police went to the luxury hotel after a call from employees early in the morning of 3 January. The letter was found in the mailroom and was still unopened. During the incident, the hotel did not have to be evacuated and there were no major incidents. Two were discovered and defused in a mail sorting center in Rotterdam. According to Dutch newspapers, two letters were returned to CIB by a mail sorting center, because of burn damage – it is unknown why they had been partially burned.
Wires and battery
AD newspaper reported that according to the director of Mercedes dealer Van Mossel in Rotterdam, which received a mail bomb, one of the employees who received the letter got a bad feeling when she saw the package. She stated that there were wires and a battery inside and it was made of some kind of cardboard. Since the contents looked suspicious, the company called the police.
All companies that have received the mail bombs received a warning letter a few days before, the police said. RTL reported authorities think that at least two bomb letters might be delivered to two companies in Amsterdam in the near future, since they received a warning letter.
None of the companies that received mail bombs and warning letters were customers of CIB, according to director Niels de Peuter. He also reassured the agency’s clients that none of the mail bombs have been sent by CIB. The person or group responsible for this does not seem to be using the agency’s customer database. It seems CIB was randomly chosen to be the “sender” of the bombs.
The police believe the mail bombs were sent by the same sender, either a single perpetrator or multiple perpetrators working together. Authorities are considering several scenarios; extortion is the most prominent reason so far, but nothing has been confirmed yet. The affected companies do not want to comment on what happened, but according to MKB Nederland, the branch organisation for small and medium businesses, the impact of the letters is substantial. If you come across one of these letters, call 112 right away.