SEPTA Employee Finds Suspicious Device, Not Linked to Terrorism

PHILADELPHIA – A device, described as a “commercial motion detector,” was found in a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) rail yard, arousing suspicions among officials.

A SEPTA employee discovered the device on May 5 and a week later it was turned over to the FBI for analysis. SEPTA Transit Police, Philadelphia police and the FBI are continuing to investigate the device discovered along a track in a rail car storage yard near 30th Street Station.

“The investigation, to date, shows no indication of any threat to the security of the SEPTA rail system,” SEPTA and the FBI said in a joint statement. “At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that this device has any nexus to terrorism. However, due to current security awareness, the incident is being thoroughly investigated and all law enforcement agencies have been advised.”

The device was located along storage Track No. 11 in Powelton Yard, a considerable distance from operating passenger trains and the 30th Street Station. With heightened security awareness, SEPTA Transit Police have been responding to reports of suspicious items on almost a daily basis, the railroad said in a statement.

Most items are found to be personal articles lost or left behind by SEPTA passengers. For instance, an average of five cellular telephones are discovered every day on SEPTA vehicles or facilities.

“If somebody leaves a briefcase, we call the bomb squad,” Jim Whitaker, a SEPTA spokesman, told The Associated Press. News Wire Editor Todd DeFeo contributed to this report.