Local authorities on the lookout for suspicious packages

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Local authorities have been on the lookout for suspicious packages in the Quad Cities as the number of explosive devices addressed to American political and media figures continues to rise.

The FBI said two suspicious packages found Thursday addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and actor Robert De Niro were similar to the devices sent to other prominent figures, including former President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in recent days.

Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos said the word has gotten out among the law enforcement community and local bomb squads across the country to be watching for explosives sent in the mail.

He said he's been speaking with local government offices and politicians about what to look out for.

"Misspelled words, addresses that don't exist, excessive amounts of postage," Bustos said. "When that happens, we want people to leave it alone and call their local law enforcement."

It's a conversation that he has also had to have with his wife, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who represents the Illinois 17th congressional district.

While the list of devices that have been intercepted continues to grow, Sheriff Bustos said he didn't want people to panic when they see a package on their doorstep. He said it was important to be able to detail what specifically about a package made it seem suspicious.

Former Secret Service agent and Rock Island native Bill Albracht said he was confident that authorities would soon apprehend the individual or groups responsible for the packages.

"This is what they do. We have the very best in the world all right now focusing in, vectoring in on this," he said. "I can't imagine in my mind that they're not going to be apprehended."

However, he said, it was unlikely that investigators would understand the motive behind the packages until then.

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