Hospital Security Officer Arrested for Mailing Threats

Published: December 13, 2006

BOSTON – A security officer at Tufts-New England Medical Center was arrested by FBI agents after mailing increasingly violent letters to the center’s administrators.

Patrick K. O’Neil, 55, allegedly mailed the letters because he was worried about being terminated and replaced with a security contractor. Police charged O’Neil with using the U.S. Postal Service to mail letters threatening bodily harm.

The letters have been a continuous source of irritation for the center’s administrators over the past several years. But it was not until late July that the anonymously mailed letters began to turn aggressive. An August 18 letter directed at department chief Thomas Atkinson Jr. explicitly stated that Atkinson was getting close to being stabbed with an ice pick.

FBI authorities traced the letters back to O’Neil by analyzing characteristics that identified the sender, such as references to the number of years he worked at the hospital, the amount of money he was paid, his general position in the hospital and the fact that he was a Suffolk County deputy sheriff.

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