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Police: Powder mailed to NJ hotels was likely corn starch

11:36 PM, Jan 31, 2014   |    comments
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NEW YORK (USA TODAY) - Preliminary tests on a suspicious white powder mailed to six New Jersey hotels near the site of Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII revealed the substance is likely corn starch, according to the police chief in Rutherford, N.J.

"That's what we're getting from Haz-Mat," Rutherford chief James Russo told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. "There was no threat that we should be concerned about."

WABC-TV in New York, which was first to report the story, said the police department in Carlstadt, N.J., received a call from an Econo Lodge at 11:30 a.m. ET that someone had opened a letter with the powder in it. Police then began receiving calls from the other hotels in East Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights, Lyndhurst and Rutherford, WABC reported.

The television station said no injuries had been reported and no evacuations ordered.

Russo said his department responded to the report at the Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel.

"Our scene is cleared. The hotel is back to business," he told USA TODAY Sports.

The hotels are in the area near MetLife Stadium, the site of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

In a statement, New Jersey State Police said, "The Joint Terrorism Task Force and Hazard Materials units have responded to several locations that have received a suspicious letter and substance. There are no reported injuries at this time, and the locations are being secured. This situation is being thoroughly investigated and more information will be provided when it becomes available."

New York police also responded to the delivery of a letter containing white power to the Manhattan office of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani .

Giuliani told Fox Sports 1 that the building was cleared as a precaution. "Then when they tested it, they found it to contain a non-toxic substance," he said. "Now, they are doing further tests just to be sure, but at that point, then they took it out of the building and the building is now operating perfectly normally."

Giuliani said in his career as a mayor, U.S. Attorney and associate Attorney General, "I've dealt with this all my life, so I was concerned, but is more of a professional concern, just to make sure the protocols were handled correctly.

"We also have the best police department in the world; the best hazardous materials unit in the world. Commissioner (William) Bratton should be very proud of them. They've handled it perfectly and the building had very little interruption. People went back to work right away," he said.

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