FBI: Stolen box trucks had no link to terrorism
Originally published September 9, 2011 at 8:50 a.m., updated September 9, 2011 at 11:50 p.m.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police have recovered nine box trucks that were stolen last weekend in a crime that briefly raised terrorism concerns because of the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The thieves’ timing couldn’t have been worse, with the trucks stolen a week before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, at a time of heightened awareness and concern about terrorism.
The thefts were mentioned in some national news reports suggesting they could be linked to terrorism, but FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton told the Associated Press that no evidence indicated a credible connection.
Kansas City police say the men who stole the trucks likely used them to haul scrap metal. The trucks were stolen from two rental companies — five from Budget Rental, four from Beagle Rental — and were recovered Wednesday throughout the city.
Police say the suspects — described as known auto thieves — were arrested while driving one of the trucks Wednesday. Their names have not been released.
The thefts came amid heightened security around the nation as the anniversary of the attacks draws near. U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking into a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaida threat to set off a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington. It was the first word of an “active plot” timed to coincide with the commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.
The thefts also recalled one of the worst-ever cases of domestic terrorism, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla., which killed 168 people. The bomber, Timothy McVeigh, detonated a Ryder truck filled with explosives that was parked in front of the building. McVeigh rented the Ryder truck in Junction City, Kan.