HAMMOND — A pipe bomb that exploded last month at the East Chicago post office is believed to have been meant to go to a contract employee who does work for the city of Hammond, authorities said.
The FBI is investigating the incident as well as a related threatening, bulky letter sent to a separate Hammond worker, confirmed Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who said he personally spoke to the FBI for a couple of hours about the incidents.
An FBI spokesperson did not immediately return a call late Tuesday afternoon from The Times.
"The city of Hammond is being threatened by some creep, and that person sent a bomb and threatening letter," he said Tuesday.
Officials and employees with the city have been told to notify police about any packages or suspicious letters they may receive. McDermott said police also have been extra-watchful of city employees.
"Welcome to America in 2017," McDermott said. "It seems like the new norm."
On top of the normal stress of being mayor, McDermott said he has had to deal with warning his own wife and children to watch out for suspicious mail. His employees, he said, also have had to deal with doing the same with their own families.
"I hope it gets resolved soon," McDermott said.
One postal employee was injured after a pipe bomb exploded shortly after 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at an East Chicago post office at 901 E. Chicago Ave. The female employee was transported to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago with minor injuries, the FBI said shortly after the incident.
The single pipe bomb did not cause damage to the building, postal officials said.
Late last month, the FBI released a sketch of a person of interest in the explosion. He was described as white, about 6 feet tall and about 30 years old with a thin build and clean-shaven face. He wore dark-rimmed glasses, black pants with very slender legs, dark vinyl sneakers and a faded black sweat shirt with the hood up.
The FBI also said the man had a unique walk.