University of California, San Diego

January 17, 1995
On December 21, 1994, Senior Vice President V. Wayne Kennedy sent a letter to all of the Chancellors urging them to remind University employees to be on the alert of suspicious letters/packages received through the mail. This letter was
in response to the tragic December 10 mail bombing in New Jersey.
At various times over the past several years, the UCSD Police Department has provided the following information to UCSD employees so they will be on the alert for suspicious mail deliveries.
The construction and the components of a letter/package bomb are limited only by
the imagination of the bomber and that of the postal process itself. A variety of small, inexpensive components, such as cameras, batteries and electronic circuit boards are readily available.
Since it is usually the intent of the bomber that the device reach a specific target, letter bombs do not contain timers or antidisturbance devices, as these components are likely to cause a detonation before the bomb reaches its target. However, a letter/package bomb is likely to be booby trapped to explode when the
wrapping is removed or the contents examined.
ven though the appearance of a letter/package bomb is limited only by the resources of the bomber, some postal explosive devices may show certain identifiable characteristics. A combination of several of these characteristics
listed below may indicate a HAZARDOUS OBJECT.
1. Stains may be found if the bomber used plastic explosives such as C-3. Military explosives such as C-4 or Semtex-H do not sweat, thus stains will not be visible.
2. Inks, particularly reds and blues, may bleed and stain the envelope.
3. Use of excessive sealing tape or string.
4. Peculiar odors from the envelope.
5. Wires, string or foil sticking out or attached to the envelope.
6. Envelope/package is heavier than usual for its size.
7. Envelope/package weight is unevenly distributed.
8. Envelope/package is more rigid than normal.
9. Envelope/package is not uniform and has numerous bulges.
10. Envelope/package contains no return address or an unusual return address.
11. Envelope/package is addressed to a title or department within the
12. Envelope/package is marked or stamped "Personal," "Private," or
13. Envelope/package is marked or stamped "Air Mail," "Registered," or
Special Delivery."

14.  Envelope/package contains excessive misspelled words and the style of
     writing is foreign or unusual.

15.  Envelope/package contains excessive postage.

16.  Envelope/package was hand delivered, thus containing no postmark.

17.  Sender of the envelope/package is unknown to the addressee.

18.  Address on the envelope/package is distorted if hand written.


1.   If you become suspicious of an envelope/package, DO NOT attempt to open it.

2.   ISOLATE the envelope/package in an area such as an unused office, then
     secure that area.  Do not allow anyone to reenter the area.

3.   Notify your supervisor and/or call the UCSD Police Department.

                                                Maudie L. Bobbitt
                                                Chief of Police