Stolen Vans Not Believed to Be Connected to 9/11 Anniversary Terror Threat
MANHATTAN — Three vans have gone missing in the New York area in the wake of a report of a terror plot on the anniversary of 9/11, but officials said Saturday they were most likely just targeted by common thieves.
The Daily News reported that the department was hunting for the vans — two stolen from a company that works at the World Trade Center site and one from New Jersey — in the wake of "credible" but not "corroborated" plot to attack New York or Washington, D.C. with a vehicle bomb.
The report had also said that the plotters may be planning to disguise themselves as construction workers to get close to the WTC site.
DNAinfo.com confirmed that the vans were stolen on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 from a company that works at the World Trade Center and that the department was looking for them.
But a high ranking police official said that they had no reason to believe that the perpetrators were anything other than thieves looking for tools.
"We’re not saying it’s part of a plot to disguise themselves," the official said.
According to the AP, a white van with Oklahoma plates was stolen from a self-storage facility in Jersey City, NJ on Aug. 21. In that case, the thieves cut the phone lines and took surveillance video, the report said.
Then on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, two vans were stolen from Tully Construction, which does work on the World Trade Center site. Both were taken from Queens, along with $70,000 in tools, the AP said.
Both green vans have red stripes on the body and a yellow light on top, according to the report.
The reports came as two U-Haul vans were stolen in Virginia on Saturday, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA.
"It just feels like something is going to happen," a source told the station.
DNAinfo.com confirmed that three operatives were said to be involved in the as-yet unsubstantiated 9/11 anniversary plot as well as the belief that they are members of Al Qaeda. Their whereabouts were unknown, the source said.
An official said that a "car bomb" as opposed to a truck bomb or some other type of larger explosive, is believed to be the desired method of attack, although they are considering "other scenarios."
According to the AP, there was no evidence as of Saturday night that any Al Qaeda operatives had entered the country.
The report also said that officials were questioning the accuracy of the initial information.