|Updated: 11/08/2011 9:44 pm
||Published: 11/08/2011 8:10 am
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A man who was laid off from a Christian greeting card company in northwest Arkansas mailed threatening letters, white powder and at least one greeting card to some of his former co-workers, authorities allege in court documents released Tuesday.
Philip Hanson worked for Siloam Springs-based DaySpring Cards for nearly three decades before authorities say he was laid off.
Last month, employees at the company received threatening letters laden with biblical-sounding references and sometimes a nontoxic white powder. No one was injured by the powder, though its arrival prompted two evacuations at the company and one at a nearby school.
Hanson was arrested Sunday - the same day authorities said they watched him throw away a bag containing white powder residue, envelopes and torn greeting cards.
He faces federal charges of mailing threatening communications and false information and hoaxes. He waived his right to a detention hearing during an initial court appearance on Tuesday.
His attorney, James Pierce, didn't respond to an email or a phone message left with a colleague at his office. A message left at a phone number listed for Hanson in Siloam Springs, where he lived, was not returned Tuesday, and a woman returning a message left there declined to comment earlier this week.
DaySpring, a subsidiary of Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark Cards Inc., received a batch of letters last month, along with white power, an FBI agent wrote in a complaint filed in federal court.
"Make sure you have a will made out and it is updated," one letter read. "You might want to upgrade your security at work and home."
The scare came 10 years after a number of envelopes containing a white powder that turned out to be anthrax were mailed to news organizations and other locations. Some of the powder in the recent Arkansas case was identified as baking soda.
Some of the letters begin with a line in Hebrew and an apparent transliteration and explanation of what it means before delving into allegations against the addressees.
"The destruction that your actions have caused is great," one letter says. "It is time to correct the wrongs that have been done. What you have thought was hidden will now be revealed. What you thought were little games played with people's lives have brought about great destruction. Now it is your turn to feel what it is like to someone to have control over you."
Court documents say the company provided Hanson with separation pay after he lost his job at DaySpring two years ago. DaySpring spokeswoman Brenda Turner said Hanson last worked at the company as a business systems analyst in the finance department. She declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his departure after 28 years with the company.
Earlier this month, an employee who sat near Hanson at DaySpring received white powder and a card that read, "Wishing You God's Peace," an FBI agent wrote in the court document. A letter inside the envelope said, "Supporting a criminal enterprise is not beneficial to your health."
The card was manufactured by Tender Thoughts, according to court documents. Investigators said that card brand was sold at only two discount stores in Siloam Springs.
In an affidavit, FBI Task Force Officer Robert J. Bacile wrote that a local police officer used a fiber optic camera inside a mailbox to look for suspicious letters after surveillance from a nearby convenience store showed him walking from the direction of the post office. Hanson was arrested two days later, after an agent watched him throw away a plastic bag with containers of powder residue, two boxes of envelopes and two Tender Thoughts greeting cards, according to Bacile's written account.
Several similar letters - some with white powder and some without - were sent to other businesses and individuals in and around Siloam Springs, which is a few miles east of the Oklahoma state line. The local police department even received a letter - sans powder - last month, as did a local newspaper.
A schoolteacher who is the daughter of a DaySpring executive also received a letter in her mailbox at Northside Elementary School, leading to an evacuation at the school.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)