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Possible hijacking attempt thwarted

February 12, 2002

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Possible hijacking attempt thwarted

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Possible hijacking attempt thwarted

By Oren Dorell, Staff Writer

NASH COUNTY -- Local police and federal agents are searching a three-state area for two people who may have tried to hijack a tanker truck loaded with fuel this morning.

The incident occurred at about 6:40 a.m. near the intersection of U.S. 264 and Interstate 95 in Nash County according to the State Highway Patrol.

"Every indication is that these individuals were attempting to stop a tanker truck," said Frank Perry, senior resident agent in charge of the Raleigh office of the FBI. But he added that "There's no imminent danger. Nothing was taken."

Perry said the incident was at first treated as possible terrorist attempt, but later in the day FBI investigators and the State Highway Patrol agreed that they were not sure if it was anything more than road rage. But the Highway Patrol has been broadcasting a radio message to local police this afternoon to be on the lookout for a Dodge Neon with N.J. tags "driven by two Arabic males." The message warned that the men should be "armed and dangerous."

Renee Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the State Highway Patrol, said the incident occurred as the truck was traveling eastbound on U.S. 264 approaching I-95. The driver told police that a copper-colored Neon tried to force him off the road. He eluded them, got off the highway, went to a Bojangles Restaurant and called police.

The car was last seen traveling east on U.S. 264 and police were asked to hold the men, described as carjacking suspects, for the FBI, according to the message. The message was sent to all law enforcement agencies in North and South Carolina and in Virginia, Hoffman said.

Staff writer Oren Dorell can be reached at (919) 829-8963 or odorell@newsobserver.com

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