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THE NATION

Police Alerted on Cash Offer for Ambulance

June 21, 2002|From Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. — An attempt by two Middle Eastern men to buy a fake ambulance two weeks ago prompted warnings that terrorists may try to use bogus emergency vehicles as weapons, authorities said Thursday.

The FBI said it had interviewed one of the men, a maintenance worker, and found that he wanted the vehicle to store tools in its compartments.

The other man was to be interviewed today, but FBI spokeswoman Sandra Carroll said the agency didn't believe there is any connection to terrorism. The men were not identified.

The men walked into Movie Time Cars Inc., a Lyndhurst company that rents replicas of ambulances and police cars to TV and film producers. They offered to pay cash to buy a replica ambulance, said owner Joe Sargo.

"I was suspicious because most of my clients don't walk in and offer cash to buy ambulances," he said. "I told them we couldn't do that, and they left."

An employee jotted down the license plate number of the delivery truck they were driving and called police, Sargo said.

Alerts were sent to Bergen County, N.J., and New York City police and rescue agencies to be on the lookout for anyone trying to obtain an emergency vehicle or look-alike. The FBI described the men as Middle Eastern but declined to say if they were U.S. citizens.

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