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Suspicious packages reported at 4 synagogues in Baltimore City and County

Posted at 1:21 PM, Dec 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 05:50:24-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — An investigation is underway after suspicious packages surfaced on Monday at four separate synagogues throughout Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

The first incident was reported around 12:45 p.m.. Baltimore County Fire, hazmat and EMS crews responded to the offices of the Beth El Congregation located in the 8100 block of Park Heights Avenue. It was learned two employees opened an envelope and immediately complained of feeling ill. Both employees were evaluated and were found to have mild symptoms including nausea. Each was treated on scene and refused to be transported to a hospital.

A hazmat team used gas and chemical meters throughout the building and determined there was no safety threat. A school on the property which at the time of the incident had 33 staff and 78 children inside was also unaffected.

Less than two hours later, a similar suspicious envelope showed up at the Beth Isaac Adeth Israel Congregation in the 4300 block of Crest Heights Avenue. The envelope in this case was not opened. As a precaution, a hazmat team once again used gas and chemical meters throughout the building and found no dangerous substances. Investigators later took possession of the envelope.

About ninety minutes later, a third call was dispatched. This time at the Har Sinai Congregation located in the 2900 block of Walnut Avenue. An investigation revealed the envelope in this case was received a week ago. Staff decided to call 911 after learning of similar incidents on Monday. Hazmat crews determined this too posed no immediate safety threat.

Howard Libit, Executive Director of The Baltimore Jewish Council, told WMAR 2 News, The attacks we're seeing, certainly what happened in Pittsburgh makes us all that much more hyper alert and you add in the social media component where threats can certainly come from there as well. So we certainly watch our email very closely, we watch mail closely."

Baltimore City Police confirmed they also are investigating at least one Monday incident at Beit Yakov Safra located in the 3600 block of Seven Mile Lane. The scene was cleared and deemed unfounded. Officials say the Department's Intelligence Section is investigating.


Days ago two other synagogues in Baltimore City reported receiving the same envelopes. They are Ner Tamid in the 6200 block of Pimlico Road and Cheder Chabad in the 5700 block of Park Heights Avenue.

The Shomrim of Baltimore, a neighborhood safety patrol group posted to their Facebook that each of the envelopes appeared to be from Dallas, Texas and contained information on the Christian faith.

All incidents remain under investigation.