Aspen Bomb Plot Suspect Kills Himself

Pair of threats paralyzed resort town for New Year's Eve
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2009 11:13 AM CST

(Newser) – Jim Blanning, the 72-year-old parolee police suspect sent threatening notes and mysterious packages to a pair of Aspen banks yesterday, was found dead east of town this morning, having apparently shot himself, the Denver Post reports. Police identified Blanning, a former Aspen native now living in Denver, from bank security footage, during an investigation that shut down 16 blocks in downtown Aspen.

About 190 authorities responded to the scare, after police deemed the notes a “credible threat to the community.” Police later found a black sled stacked with clear plastic containers, holiday-wrapped gifts, and pizza boxes, which were destroyed along with the packages the banks received. It’s unclear what was inside. The investigation paralyzed Aspen, with residents forced to huddle in school evacuation centers or nearby hotels.