Back in those old days in the 1970s and 1980s, people who wanted to rob a bank would use a gun or threaten they had one while kids who wanted to close their school would pull the fire alarm. Welcome to the post-9/11 era. Bank security officers now report a visible increase in the number of robbers who suggest they have a bomb on their person or in a carry bag. And school safety officers tell the Security Blog there is an growing trend in which persons mail school administrators envelopes containing white powder to replicate past anthrax incidents.

For example, two recent bank robberies have taken advantage of terrorism fears in northeast Queens, and police want to defuse the situation. On January 22 a “black male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing approximately 200 pounds,” according to the NYPD, entered the Queens County Savings Bank at 247-53 Jamaica Avenue in Bellerose shortly before 9 a.m. Police say the man, dressed in black shoes and a black jacket, told bank employees he wanted to open an account. Once he had the manager’s attention, cops say he said he had a bomb in his bag, and warned them “Don’t notify anyone.” He fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash, heading westbound on Jamaica Avenue. Police sources told The Queens Courier that on January 25, an unidentified black male, between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing “about 180 pounds,” entered the Queens County Savings Bank at 224-04 Union Turnpike in Hollis Hills shortly before noon on. The man, who was wearing blue pants, a blue trench coat and black sneakers, also produced what appeared to be a bomb — but also turned out to be four traffic flares taped together with a common electronic accessory, police sources said. The thief was last seen headed south on Springfield Boulevard, with approximately $8,300 in cash, according to police sources. Within the school sector sector, when the Bishop Ludden school’s principal in Geddes, New York opened a standard white envelope addressed to the school Monday morning, he never expected he would have to call the authorities. “Our principal received a letter in the mail that upon opening it, contained a suspicious white substance,” said the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Syracuse. “At that time, he immediately called upon his assistant principal. They kicked the emergency plan into place. They called the Geddes police and involved the police immediately.” A Geddes police investigator says the letter was handwritten. But what it said can not be revealed at this time. The powder it was covered in, unknown. The superintendent says the principal was the only one that came into contact with the envelope and that students were never in danger. “The ventilation in this particular part of the building was off. Our buildings are all steam heat so there is no ventilation running in the wintertime. There’s no forced air. So that’s why we knew that students were not in danger,” he said. Geddes Police are working with postal inspectors and the FBI. They say they do not want to reveal too many details at this time as to avoid the likes of a copy cat.

Have you experienced bomb or white powder threats? Do you have a plan in place to handle such threats? Email your thoughts to