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Florida man accused of sending anthrax hoax letters

Jerry Nelson Stinchcomb faces up to 15 years in prison

FRUITLAND, Fla. – A man suspected of mailing anthrax hoax letters to several locations throughout Central Florida has been arrested.

A U.S. Attorney's Office news release says Jerry Nelson Stinchcomb, 50, appeared in Ocala federal court Tuesday, facing charges of sending an anthrax hoax and mailing a threatening communication. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Investigators say envelopes containing white powder and threatening letters were mailed to various public and private offices in Lake, Volusia, Sumter and Orange counties from December to May. Starting in March, employees of the Fruitland Park Post Office began intercepting similar-looking letters.

Authorities say they caught Stinchcomb dropping an anthrax hoax letter May 30 into a Fruitland Park postal collection box. The letter was addressed to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Stinchcomb's motive is not known.

It wasn't clear if Stinchcomb had an attorney.