NEW: Providence Police Investigating Hate Crime on East Side

Thursday, October 15, 2015


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Police and fire officials were on the East Side in Providence on Thursday morning to investigate envelopes delivered to houses with unknown materials inside, that they said were a targeted hate crime.

Letters were dropped of at houses on Hope Street, as well as Lorimer Avenue and Methyl Street "with little beads of rice inside," said Mayor Jorge Elorza.

"We're here with the hazardous materials division making sure there's not hazardous materials in there," said Elorza Thursday morning. "Assuming that the lab results come back negative, then the packets will be handed over to police. The police are treating this very seriously. We've been in touch with state officials and federal officials."

"We're taking every precaution possible," continued Elorza.  "It's unfortunate in times like these there are people who want to terrorize...and keep us apart."

Public Safety Looking for Information

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said that the police are asking people for any information they might have

"Until such time we determine such matter in [the] baggies are safe, and not hazardous, we're treating it as if it's hazardous, so if anyone has info on pedestrians or a car that was driving up and down the area we'd like to hear," said Pare.  "It will be prosecuted as a hate crime, it was targeted to race and faith based groups."

District 9 Commanding Police Officer Lt. Joe Donnelly confirmed late Monday morning that the preliminary results came back negative. 

"We had had an incident today on Methyl involving small packages of rice containing vague anti-Semitic messages. In an abundance of caution we involved provhazmat, PFD for proper testing and collection. Preliminary tests have been negative for harmful substance."

Updated Thursday 1:05 p.m.


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