Winnipeg mail bombs, suspicious packages alarm postal workers
Suspicious packages reported at 2 Canada Post facilities on Monday
A spate of mail bombs targeting Winnipeg law offices and businesses, along with additional reports of suspicious packages, have raised fear levels among Canada Post employees.
At least four suspicious packages were reported on Monday alone, including one at Winnipeg city hall and two on Canada Post depots (Wellington Avenue and McDermot Avenue). Those reports, as well as another on Donald Street, turned out to be false alarms.
The wave of suspicious packages comes after one exploded inside a law office on River Avenue on Friday, seriously injuring family lawyer Maria Mitousis.
"Folks are scared. This is very close to home, you know. It is packages that definitely were handled by our members," Todd Jarema, a prairie region officer with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, told CBC News.
"Obviously, people are unsure as to, you know, 'Is this package that I've got in my hand, is this a bomb too?'"
Guido Amsel, 49, faces numerous charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Investigators believe Amsel was targeting his ex-wife and Mitousis, who was his ex-wife's lawyer, as well as one of his former lawyers.
Police warned any justice officials who have had contact with Amsel to be cautious with the mail they received on Thursday and Friday.
Mail carrier noticed similar packaging
Investigators released a photograph of the envelope that one of the bombs came in. They described the parcels as having "distinct packaging and lettering."
Lisa Peterson, a local shop steward with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said a mail carrier noticed a package around 9:30 a.m. CT Monday and remembered the description given by police.
The RCMP's bomb squad X-rayed the package and determined it was just a DVD, a fire official told reporters at the scene.
Peterson said mail carriers are being extra-vigilant in light of the bombing on Friday.
"It's a little alarming that, you know, perhaps some of these items were sent through our postal service and that we've had workers perhaps in contact with them," she said.
"Of course, we're devastated with injuries that have come about from it and we're just really worried that there could be future packages still in the system."
Union upset with Canada Post
Myron May, a representative with CUPW Winnipeg Local 856, said members feel that Canada Post did not advise them on the situation until Sunday night.
"This wasn't a threat. This was a real bomb, and there were two more in the mail stream that went off that they had to detonate."
May said Canada Post should have notified employees immediately after the first bomb detonated and reminded them of what suspicious parcels generally look like.
In a statement to CBC News, a Canada Post spokesperson declined to comment, "as this is an active police investigation and it would inappropriate for us to comment."
Jarema said the union is urging Canada Post to work with police to better mitigate any risk to employees who may come in contact with further suspicious packages.