Toyota Plants Target Of Fake Letter Bombs

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The Detroit Free Press is reporting that four Toyota assembly plants – San Antonio, TX (home of the Taco and Tundra), Princeton, IN (home of the Sienna and Highlander), Buffalo, WV (a 4cyl and 6cyl engine plant), and Toyota’s R&D facility in Erlanger, KY have all received fake letter bombs during the last few days.

Fake Toyota cardboard tube letter bomb

Fake letter bombs being sent to Toyota facilities are made from a short section of cardboard tube and hand addressed. The return address is allegedly Nigeria.

The choice of facilities seems to make it clear that someone has visited the manufacturing page on Toyota’s website, which lists all of the major Toyota manufacturing facilities in the USA. Hopefully this does not mean that more fake letter bombs are due to arrive at the other facilities on that page.

The question is, why?

Letter bombs are anonymous. The FBI and the U.S. Post Office seem like they should be pretty good at tracking down letter bombs, letters containing anthrax, etc. – they’ve got lots of experience doing so. However, some major cases (the unabomber and Amerithrax) show that careful letter bombers/fake letter bombers/anthrax mailers are hard to catch.

Letter bombs disrupt business, even if they’re fake. When a bomb or potential bomb is found, the standard procedure is to evacuate the building and wait for the bomb disposal crew. By the time they’re done and the employees have calmed down, you’ve lost at least a day’s worth of work. In the case of the Amerithrax letters, offices were closed for more than a week for cleaning.

Toyota has just laid off 5,000+ workers in California. NUMMI is officially closed, and a lot of the workers have been given severance, but that doesn’t mean that some of them aren’t very, very angry with Toyota. The FBI offers an interesting guide to preventing workplace violence (pdf), which indicates that “apparent obsession with an…employee grievance” and “oubursts of anger” are behaviors that could indicate a former employee prone to violence. Check out this video of a NUMMI UAW meeting from a few months ago:

YouTube Preview Image

Any chance the bomber was in that room?

What To Do If You Suspect A Package Might Be Dangerous

Just for safety’s sake, here’s what to look out for and what to do if you get a suspicious package.

Beware of packages with excessive postage, handwritten or poorly typed addresses, misspellings of common words, strange return address or no return address, incorrect titles or title without a name, marked with restrictions such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do not x-ray”, and/or packages marked with threatening language.

Don’t open packages with a powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope, oily stains, discolorations, or odor, lopsided or uneven weight, excessive packaging material, packages that have a ticking sound or that have protruding wires or aluminum foil.

If a package or envelope appears suspicious, DO NOT OPEN IT. Don’t shake it, carry it around to show people, sniff it or taste powders to try and figure out what they are, etc. Just leave it where it sits, inform co-workers, wash your hands thoroughly, and contact the authorities. Better safe than sorry.

P.S. If the letter bombing guy or gal is reading this, take my advice: If you want to screw over Toyota, get in a Camry, accelerate on a California highway until you’re out of control, call 911 and claim your brakes aren’t working, and then run yourself into a brick wall. That will do a lot more damage to Toyota than this, and you won’t scare the life out of some poor mail room employee who’s just doing his or her job.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. BobG says:

    A lot of this hatred of Toyota is the result of the closing of NUMMI, but I see in today’s San Jose Mercury News, that Toyota has just inked a deal with Tesla Motors, and they are going to use the NUMMI facility. This will be interesting to watch, and see how it evolves.

  2. Brian says:

    Looks like the UAW screws up again! Funny, though, how this never happened when GM and Ford closed their plants. People need to get over themselves and stop trying to hurt, or imply the hurting of, others.

  3. Jason says:

    BobG – Good call. I hope that a lot of the workers at NUMMI get a job building Teslas. Tesla couldn’t have found a better production partner, btw.
    Brian – It’s pure conjecture on my part, but the timing is pretty convenient, and it would explain why the fake bombs are going to manufacturing facilities…but I’m just spit-balling.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I have an idea. We can fake hunt the mailers down and fake beat them with a fake stick about the head and neck until they fake bleed from their fake eyes. No harm done, it’s all fake, Right? OOOOOOOO! And we can do it from a fake truck (Insert Toyota, Honda, Subaru, or Dodge joke here)

  5. Jason says:

    Jeremy – That’s a very good idea. We can call the fake ambulance to take them to the fake hospital.
    P.S. You’re the guy sending these things, right? LOL.

  6. Jeremy says:

    No, But i did sleep in a Holiday Inn.

  7. Bike Games says:

    Wow…crazy people and not only that, people here have crazy ideas as well.

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