ATHENS (WATE) – The sheriffs of McMinn and Monroe counties say they have contacted a person of interest who may be leaving mysterious, anonymous notes at churches in several East Tennessee counties signed “The Waster.”
The two sheriffs say they were able to contact the man by phone. He said he was simply expressing his religious beliefs, but they will continue to monitor the situation.
They say he hand delivered the letter to a church in Monroe County and a church in Blount County. He also matches the description of a man photographed leaving a letter at a church in McMinn County.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy and Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones say this is not a criminal investigation, but they wanted to learn what the intentions are behind the letter, which have been reported as being left at churches from Blount County south into Murray County, Georgia.
The letters, which are generally photocopies, quote several Bible scriptures with underlying themes of violence. Church members are especially concerned because of a reference to Isaiah 54:16: “Behold I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”
“If you receive a strange envelope, do not open it,” says Sheriff Guy. “It is a safer to let law enforcement open the letter, as well as to preserve evidence.”