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Police test white substance found in West Hempstead bank

A satellite building of the Bank of America

A satellite building of the Bank of America on Hempstead Avenue in West Hempstead is surrounded by numerous hazardous material units. Trucks from the Nassau County police, Nassau County Fire Marshals, Nassau County Haz Mat units, Nassau County Emergency Services, and multiple fire departments apparatus were present. Photo Credit: /Lou Minutoli

Police cordoned off a West Hempstead bank building on Friday while hazardous materials investigators tested a suspicious white powder found inside, Nassau County authorities said.

Testing of the substance, found in the Bank of America building on Hempstead Gardens Drive, was still being completed Friday afternoon, said Det. Sgt. Anthony Repalone, a county police spokesman.

Late Thursday night, a 23-year-old male bank employee had come into contact with the substance as he was using a money counting machine at about 10 p.m. A cloud of the substance sprayed from the machine and the man later became ill with nausea and his eyes were irritated, Repalone said.

The next morning, the worker told his manager about the incident, and in turn the police were called in, Repalone said.

Detectives were investigating Friday where the powder - between sheaves of bills - came from, but they don't believe the exposure is life-threatening, he said.

Bank of America spokeswoman Anne Pace referred inquiries to the police but declined to comment.

"The safety and security of our customers and our associates is our highest priority. We are working with law enforcement on the issue."

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