Authorities search Southington motel in suspicious package probe

Published on Thursday, 6 September 2018 18:48


SOUTHINGTON - A New Haven man remains under investigation in connection with at least nine white powder scares after three more incidents were reported on Thursday in Southington and New Haven.

FBI officials searched the Motel 6 on Queen Street in the overnight hours, Tom Carson, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, confirmed Thursday morning. He did not release further details, aside from saying the search was in connection with the numerous reports of white powder being sent to federal, state and municipal buildings and other organizations since Wednesday.

New Haven police on Thursday said emergency responders were called in their city to two reports of buildings in the downtown area receiving packages that contained white powder. There were also bomb threats emailed to five buildings in New Haven that police say could be connected.

New Haven police warned anyone who receives a package from Gary Joseph Gravelle, 51, to leave it alone. Federal authorities have said they are investigating Gravelle in connection with the white powder scares, though he has not been charged.

Since Wednesday, at least nine instances of white powder being mailed to various locations have been confirmed. These included the First Bristol Federal Credit Union, at 25 North St.; the Bristol Police Department detective division, at 131 North Main St.; and four buildings in Hartford, including the state Department of Education, at 450 Columbus Blvd., and the federal courthouse, at 450 Main St.

On Thursday, Hartford firefighters said the substance received in two of the reports in their city is believed to have been baby powder. Bristol police believe the powder sent to the bank and the police department in Bristol may have also been baby powder, but it has not been confirmed.

Gravelle, who police say has a history of mailing threatening letters, has remained in custody since he was arrested Wednesday in New Britain, outside a business on West Main Street. Carson said he was located there and taken into custody without incident, declining to release further details.

Federal authorities say they suspect Gravelle may be behind the white powder scares. Investigators believe he may have sent as many as 50 such pieces of mail to locations around the state.

Gravelle was taken into custody for allegedly violating his conditions of supervised release. He was convicted in July 2013 of sending numerous pieces of threatening mail and sentenced to 70 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was released from prison in November 2015. Federal authorities said Gravelle failed to notify his probation officer that he had changed addresses and failed to comply with mental health treatment requirements.

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News on Thursday, 6 September 2018 18:48. Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2018 18:50.