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Motion detector in rail yard was placed there by worker

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on May 24.)

PHILADELPHIA -- A motion detector discovered in a commuter rail yard earlier this month was put there by a transit employee who apparently wanted to know when his supervisors were coming, officials said Monday.

The discovery of the device on May 5 spooked law enforcement officials, who have been on heightened alert for suspicious activities around train tracks since the terrorist train bombings in Spain in March.

Officials at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said an employee told the FBI he put the device by the tracks to alert him to approaching foot traffic, ``presumably his supervisors.''

The transit agency did not immediately identify the employee. It said he worked full-time on an overnight shift for SEPTA and part-time for a security alarm company.

The device, found by a conductor in a yard near Philadelphia's massive 30th Street Station, was capable of sending a signal to a nearby receiver, and ostensibly could have triggered a signal or alarm when it detected motion, SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said.

No receiver was found, he said.

FBI spokeswoman Jerri Williams said the case remained under investigation Monday, with agents trying to determine whether the worker broke any laws. She said there was no indication the worker was involved in terrorism.

Maloney said no disciplinary action had been taken against the employee, a mechanic he described as a SEPTA veteran, but the case is still under review.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

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