Skip to comments.POSSIBLE WITNESS TO TERRORIST ACTIVITY?
Posted on 10/26/2004 5:38:03 PM PDT by libertylass
I HAD MY OWN LITTLE EXPERIENCE LAST SATURDAY THAT PROMPTED ME TO CONTACT THE LOCAL POLICE, AND WHEN THAT DIDN'T SATISFY ME, THE HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICE IN SACRAMENTO, CA. THEY IN TURN SENT ME BACK TO MY LOCAL FBI OFFICE, WHO CONSIDERS MY "EVENT" WORTH LOOKING INTO:
I was walking my dog at about 10:30 am when a man pulled up to the curb in front of my condominium units. We have 23 units that are place in a horseshoe shape with the "opening" of the horseshoe facing the street. The "opening" contains the building for our clubhouse and sauna room so you can't actually see into our common area from the street.
Anyway, I didn't pay any attention to him until about a 1/2 hour later when I left with my dog to take her to the vet. As I walked to my truck (on the street) this middle-Eastern looking guy was standing in the middle of the street taking pictures of our condos. Our condos are directly across from a school and less than 1/2 a block from an elementary school where voting takes place for our immediate area.
At first I wasn't going to say anything, thinking he works for a real estate company, but because there are no "For Sale" signs, or "For Rent" signs on our front lawn, I found it odd. I recently refinanced my condo and they never took pictures of the front of the condo units, but only of my interior and immediate outside walls.
So.....as I walked towards him I asked "do you mind me asking you what you're doing?" He replied "I don't know that it's any of your business" at which time I replied "well, I live here and you're taking pictures of my condos, and people are watching out for this kind of thing." (I was getting perturbed at his uncooperative and disrespectful attitude.) I figure if he was a legitimate real estate agent, or an appraiser, he would have offered an explanation or a business card.
He stated "this is a public place" and proceeded to go get in his car. Me, always being a bit bolder than I should be, got a bit mouthy and said "Oh, so now you're going to leave when someone questions what you're doing?" He replied "yeah."
As he got into car I read his license plate number out loud, got into my truck, wrote it down along with the type of automobile (Dodge Intrepid) and drove to my moms to contact the police.
It turns out that they didn't consider him committing any crime (which I knew), so I contacted the dept. of homeland security. They referred me to my local FBI office in L.A. where my story was welcomed, and that I would be getting a follow up call from an agent at some point.
After talking to a co-worker she reminded me that one school is directly across the street from our units and the other one is around the corner just a few houses down.
Perhaps I was overreacting, but taking pictures of PRIVATELY owned homes without offering an explanation from a resident makes me suspicious. He spoke good English, but has a middle Eastern accent.
I keep thinking I'm gonna wake up in the middle of the night with an orange jumpsuit on and my hands tied behind my back. Shiver........
I believe he also wrote down my license plate number, but can't be sure.
Was I over-reacting you think?
post this on the Threat Matrix thread.
For what it's worth, if you had not reported this incident, you would have been remiss (IMHO, of course).
Well done. Keep your head up.
In this day & age? Nope. Not by a long shot.
Maybe this guy wasn't a terrorist, but it sounds like he was definitely casing your home. Either way, you done good.
no over-reaction IMO
You did EXACTLY the right thing. And thank you.
Only the ACLU or the democrats would say you overreacted. What you did was very sensible and you should be very proud that you took the initiative as you did. If that individual was up to something wrong, it is not likely he'll return to your neighborhood.
It makes me about polling places all over the US now, especially in Republican districts. Is yours?
I would have done the same, Good work
No way you over reacted. You did the right thing, but the police sure didn't.
You asked legitmate questions ... legitimate even before 9-11, because he photographing your own home. He was rude not to answer.
Anyone else had an experience such as this? If so, please share your story and what YOU did about following up on it.
We spotted the guy arrested in North Carolina shooting video of our office building in Atlanta. It didn't strike me as suspicious, but our project manager, a former Captain in the marine Corps called the local FBI office while we were standing there. Go figure.
I would've done nearly the same thing... (I wouldn't've talked to him, I'm a chicken***.) :)
Someone did awhile back, but it's been too long to find it now. I think you did the right thing.
I hope it was nothing. Give your pup a kiss from me.
You might give this information to the press, I bet they have connections with the DMV that can look up info on this guy.
You most definitely did not overreact, and I admire what you did.
ping for your Philly airport story.
If it wasn't California, I'd have shot him.
Glad it was you and not me. This whole past 12 months have really given me a bad attitude which I am finding hard to keep under control.......I'm even flippin the bird to real old ladies following me too close........
I don't think you were over-reacting. I go after "harmless" realtors this way -- anyone taking photographs, or notes, or simply sitting in their car on my street. It's my version of "community oriented policing". :> You did good! Always trust your instincts.
did you check out the license number at DMV?
Better Safe than Sorry. Like they told us at Poll Watcher Training this weekend at Bush Headquarters "Just the fact they you are there PAYING ATTENTION will stop any voter fraud in its tracks. Be aware, be confident and be nice, Trust but verify.
You were all of the above.
century 21 maybe?
I have experienced a similar situation, and now keep a portable camera in my car at all times. If I see something again, I plan to snap a pic before addressing the person if at all.
Good job. Keep us posted.
You definitely did right to report this.
If the FBI gets one useful lead out of ten, or even one out of fifty, they are still way ahead of getting no leads at all. The FBI relies heavily on tips and informers. They don't really have the manpower to cover much territory directly.
This guy may have just had a bad attitude, but from what you say his behavior was definitely suspicious.
Too bad you didn't have a camera handy. I would have started taking pictures of him.
A hearty 'pat on the back' for a job well done.
Remember: Eternal vigilence is the price of freedom.
Also remember: lock and load.
During wartime, the thought that anyone can behave in a suspicious manner and not be questioned by some sort of "devine American right" is unrealistic as well as suicidal. I don't blame you at all. If he was not up to anything he should have nothing to fear at all.
I'm glad you did exactly what you did.
Consider, if you had not and something DID happen; would you be able to live with the guilt?
Hopefully, nothing will happen. If nothing happens, you will be able to think that nothing happened BECAUSE you did what you did. Perhaps an attempt will NOT be made, because you stood your ground. If he was casing the condo's for a robbery, he will probably prey somewhere else.
I wish more Americans were as noble as you have shown yourself to be.
You did the correct thing. Great job! This is the only way we can eventually defeat these kind of threats. Eternal vigilance and common sense.
Hey, brilliant idea!
I live in Michigan in the middle of the state, no big metropolis is nearby and we can pee off the back porch with no one ever being the wiser. (I have 20 acres surrounded by trees) anyways My cousins live 12 minutes from here. Their school, (Birch Run) showed up on a terrorist computer disc in Iraq. You can never be to careful, You never know who is watching or what they are interested in. You did the right thing no doubt at all.
What building in Atlanta was it?
Anything short of "recon by fire" is not over reacting.
any LE types she could email the plate number to and they could do a discrete inquiry?
Freeprs, don't we have someone who can do this????
Don't question yourself, you did the right thing. I hope it was nothing serious, and if that's the case, then you did no harm. Better safe than sorry!
I'm glad we've got citizens like you keeping a cautious eye on things. =)
I really hope this was nothing, but you did the right thing.
My apt complex is right across from an elementary school which is also my election polling place. I'll have to keep an eye out ...
That's a very good idea about having a camera in the car. I've got those portable ones in my desk at work. Tomorrow I'll be putting one in the car.
In the winter of 2003, following an elevated homeland security alert, I was driving near Lancaster PA on a heavily traveled two lane route. I followed a small sedan with 4 young middle eastern men. No women. They were pointing to this and that building on the left and right as they drove slowly, following the truck traffic. They began driving somewhat erraticly, moving to a center turn lane, then weaving out in front of me at the last minute.
Then it occured to me. They are driving toward Three Mile Island, the infamous nuke plant near Harrisburg. I called 911 and reported to the police, gave them the license number and description. Never heard any resolution. But I would do it again in a heartbeat, with no remorse.
yeah I have considered getting one of those camera phones specifically for that purpose. I generally only use my mobile for emergencies, but I always have it with me.
If the guy was innocent, he SHOULD have said "I'm taking pictures for a real estate company." Instead he got beligerent and ran off.
There is phenonenon going on where ordinary arab Americans are recruited by al-qaeda to do "TOURIST DRY-RUNS."
They take pictures of vulnerable sites, ask directions to nuclear sites or dams, leave luggage at vulnerable sites, act more than extremely suspicious on airline flights etc. If they are asked questions or are taken in for questioning by the FBI, they have a viable alibi.
If no questions are asked, they pass their information on.
But they are really just testing our defences, doing dry-runs and gathering intelligence.
We need to stop this activity which is usually run out of your local "Islam is a religion of Peace" mosque.
This one had a bad attitude, and your intuition to ask him that simple question seems like the right thing to do in that situation.
I can't imagine why he would cop an attitude, and I would have taken the same actions you did.
God Bless and keep you safe!
There's good reasons and bad reasons why someone might be doing that -- the generaL rule is that ANYONE ANYTME should check out why their property (rented or owned) is being checked out to an unusual degree by stangers. Not to do so is a breach of social contract -- to one's duty towards ensuring the peacable continuance of current comfortable circumstance of one's family and neighbors.
You are a very brave man and you did the right thing by reporting him. What happened in Beslan could happen here so, good job.
Just to be safe, I'd buy a gun, security system and a dog, but then I'm paranoid anyway. :)