Transportation authority employee causes stir

Part-time security worker installed motion detector to alert of supervisor’s approach
Thursday, July 1, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - A commercial motion detector found in a train car storage yard in Philadelphia was not the making of a terrorist plot, according to the FBI and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Rather, a full-time SEPTA employee, who also works part-time for an unnamed security alarm company, placed the device in order to be alerted when his supervisors approached.

“According to reports from the FBI, this employee used this motion detector along a walkway to take naps,” said Richard Maloney, director of public affairs for SEPTA. The employee worked the night shift with several other SEPTA employees.

A SEPTA employee found the device in a rail yard near the 30th Street Station, on Track 11 in Powelton Yard. Since the bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, domestic transportation officials have been especially attentive to possible terrorist attacks.

“We were involved at the request of SEPTA. They had found this device and had no idea why this device was planted and by who,” said Jerri Williamswith from the FBI’s media office in Philadelphia. “That person has not been charged,” she said, also adding the case is still pending.

“We began to investigate on May 12, and I believe it was yesterday, May 24, it was determined we attained more information on who placed the device and for what purpose,” said Williams.

The unidentified employee has discussed the incident with the FBI, but has not been in contact with SEPTA officials, according to Richard Maloney, director of public affairs for the organization.

Maloney declined to elaborate on the individual’s identity and work history. “We’re still continuing to investigate internally,” Maloney said.