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FBI questions man on train after scare

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on June 8.)

RICHMOND, Calif. -- FBI agents and police evacuated an Amtrak train, seized a passenger and X-rayed his packages Wednesday after he angrily warned the train was going to "fall into the sea," authorities said. The packages were found to contain personal items and a laptop computer.

The man, described as Middle Eastern and in his mid-30s, was taken into custody for a 72-hour psychiatric examination, authorities said.

Business and homes in the area were evacuated after an X-ray initially suggested that the computer might have been a bomb, police Lt. Mark Gagan said.

"We take these situations at their face value that they could be potentially dangerous because we have a refinery and other major infrastructure facilities here in the city," Gagan said.

About 240 passengers were evacuated from the five-car Capital Corridor Train, said Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham. The train remained at the Richmond station for more than four hours while investigators searched the cars, preventing eight other trains from passing through. The train was finally released around midday.

The incident began at about 8 a.m. when the man was approached by an Amtrak ticket taker and apparently became agitated after being told he had missed his stop, Gagan said.

The man said "the train was going to fall into the sea and the train was going to disappear," according to Gagan.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

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