Officials: Substance found at Congressmen’s offices ‘most likely from letter sealing wax’

Posted at 2:07 PM, Feb 22, 2013

Last week, officials responded to reports about unknown white substances at the offices of Congressman Scott Rigell in Virginia Beach and Congressman Randy Forbes in Chesapeake.

Fire crews have tested the substance at Congressman Rigell's office and determined that it is not dangerous.

Tim Riley, the Battalion Chief with the Virginia Beach Fire Department, says the red substance found at Congressman Rigell & Forbes offices was most likely from letter sealing wax.

He says the substance was red and appeared hardened and was pulverized into small pieces from the mail processing machines.

They say the letter sent to both offices came from the same individual.

They questioned the person, who they say fully cooperated, and confirmed it was sealing wax. They say the letter was not threatening and they believe no criminal intent occurred. The person was exercising his right to freedom of speech according to officials.

The substance is now at the state lab.

Congressman Scott Rigell's Chief of Staff, Chris Connelly, issued the following statement:

"Earlier this afternoon a letter was received and opened in our Virginia Beach office which contained an unidentified substance. The local authorities as well as the United States Capitol Police were alerted and the office was immediately evacuated. The Virginia Beach fire and police departments responded with great speed and the letter was removed. It will be analyzed to determine if the contents were harmful in nature. Since the staff member who opened the letter immediately put it aside once the substance was noticed, the subject and intent of the letter is not known.

The Congressman’s staff are fine and we appreciate the urgency and thoroughness of our local first responders."

Sergio Gor, the Communications Director for the Office of Congressman J. Randy Forbes issued this statement.

This afternoon a suspicious package was delivered to the Chesapeake district office of Congressman Randy Forbes. The package contained a flaky unidentified substance. Capitol Police and local law enforcement were immediately notified and are at the scene. The Congressman was not at the office at the time the package was delivered.