Powder scare at Reuters' NY newsroom

October 27, 2008 5:03:00 PM PDT
About 140 staffers evacuated Reuters News' newsroom on Monday after an editor opened an envelope with white powder in it, authorities said. Police ordered the evacuation of the 19th-floor newsroom after a "puff of powder" came out of the envelope, Reuters spokeswoman Jolie Hunt said.

Police said tests would be conducted on the unidentified substance, discovered at about 12:45 p.m. in an envelope addressed to the "editor in chief." Staffers were allowed to return to the newsroom just after 4 p.m.

Last week, The New York Times moved employees in its advertising and editorial departments on the 13th floor of its Manhattan headquarters to another floor for about an hour after an employee opened an envelope containing a powder that turned out to be harmless, a Times spokeswoman said.

At Reuters on Monday, police isolated the envelope and the editor who opened it, Brian Rhoads, the company's managing editor for the Americas, Hunt said. Staffers arranged to continue to file news using other offices.

Other corporate offices at the headquarters of Thomson Reuters, the agency's parent company, were not evacuated, Hunt said. The New York newsroom is Reuters' second largest after London.

Investigators don't believe the incidents at the Times and Reuters were related, Detective Mindy Diaz said.

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