Vestal police are launching a criminal investigation after a suspicious white powder prompted the evacuation of offices at an insurance company headquarters complex.

Authorities were called to Columbian Financial Group at 4704 Vestal Parkway East around 1:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Police were told a woman who was working in a mail room was covered in the mysterious powder after she opened an envelope.

Other employees were evacuated as a precaution and a Vestal Fire Department hazardous materials team entered the building to assess the situation.


Vestal Police Chief John Butler at Columbian Mutual Financial Group offices on June 1, 2016. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]

Vestal Police Chief John Butler said the worker who had been exposed to the powder washed her hands after the incident. He said the fire department tested the substance and determined it was harmless. He said it appeared to be sheet rock dust.

It was not immediately clear who had sent the envelope to the insurance company.

Butler said detectives will investigate the matter to determine who sent the white powder through the mail. He said it's a crime and charges may be filed pending the outcome of the investigation.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Bob Joseph/WNBF News

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