Sunday, May 23, 2004


In a follow-up piece yesterday, Channel 6 aired reaction over the botched handling of the suspicious device found at Powelton Yard earlier this month.

"It's just scary that they waited like that, they put lives in jeopardy I feel." - Naomi Jones of South Philadelphia

"With the situation going on in the country now it would seem that something should be checked out as soon as it is heard." - Harry Graves of North Philadelphia

Please. Remember that we're dealing with a police department that makes the Keystone Kops look like the New York City Police. Anyway...

SEPTA says it did check out the device, an infrared motion sensor and transmitter similar to one spray painted black placed along the tracks in the train storage yard on the approach to 30th Street. But how they checked it out is under serious scrutiny. Action News has learned a conductor found the device on May 5th. SEPTA employees took it to the maintenance shed and tried to disassemble it themselves. They later turned it over to SEPTA police who placed it in a locker for a week.

On May 13th, someone heard it beeping and decided to call the Philadelphia Police Bomb Squad. The bomb squad found it was not explosive and called the FBI. At that point, federal agents began a one thousand meter perimeter search of the area where the device was found. They were looking for other possible components and other evidence. Nothing else was found.

"We sent the device down to our labs." - FBI spokeswoman Jerri Williams

The FBI says there's no evidence the device is terror related and SEPTA says it was no threat to commuter trains ... [T]here is great consternation among some involved in the investigation. [The FBI says] between the time the device was found and the FBI conducted its search, whoever put it there had enough time to remove any other components or evidence that may have been placed there. SEPTA acknowledges it has a problem in the way the matter was handled.

"In my view, yes it represents a problem. It's one we're not pleased with, that's why we're investigating." - SEPTA AGM for Safety/Risk Management/A** Covering James Jordan

Remember that Jordan's previous job was a Public Integrity Officer responsible for overseeing the Philadelphia Police as a result of the infamous 39th District scandal in the late 1990s. Nothing like becoming a Rotating Resume at 1234 Market to toss one's integrity out the window, eh, Jimmy?

If Jordan still has a job after all of this settles, it will be surprising, but par for the course at SEPTA.

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