NEWARK, N.J. – An attempt by two Middle Eastern men to buy a fake ambulance spurred authorities to issue warnings that terrorists may seek to use bogus emergency vehicles as weapons, authorities said.
About two weeks ago, two men walked into Movie Time Cars Inc., a Lyndhurst, N.J., company that rents replicas of ambulances and police cars to TV and film producers. The men offered to pay cash to buy a replica ambulance, said Joe Sargo, the company's owner.
Sargo, suspicious, told the men he does not sell vehicles to anyone. The men quickly left, but an employee jotted down the license plate number of the car and called police, Sargo said.
That triggered a series of alerts to police and rescue agencies in northern New Jersey and New York that terrorists might seek to use emergency vehicles or look-alikes to carry out attacks, said Sandra Carroll, a spokeswoman for the Newark FBI office.
She said the FBI knows who the two men are and is seeking them for questioning, but has not connected them to any terrorist organizations. She would not identify the men but said they were confirmed to be Middle Eastern.
Carroll said the information from Lyndhurst police about the incident "was combined with some intelligence that ambulances or police cars may be a target."
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.
Movie Time does not have actual ambulances or police cars, but the replicas are authentic enough that they can pass for the real thing, Sargo said.
"For all intents and purposes, what they wanted looked like an ambulance," he said.