HOSTAGES, HOSTAGES, HOSTAGES, HOSTAGES

by Dee Finney

2-4-02

 

2-4-02 - VISION - I saw four colored photographs of groups of people - some standing - some sitting on the floor.

I couldn't tell for sure why they were there.  I got the impression that this was a hostage situation and there was torture involved.

NOTE:  There was a hostage situation going on in Pakistan of a journalist at the time, but I couldn't see the people clearly enough to tell who they were.


 

Robbers hit 3 Modesto banks
 

February 6, 2002 Posted: 05:20:05 AM PST

By KEN CARLSON
BEE STAFF WRITER

Bank alarms went off three times in 33 minutes Tuesday morning in Modesto. One robber struck twice on foot, and two others held up the drive-through at a third bank.

No one saw any weapons, no one got hurt, and no one said how much money was stolen. No arrests had been made.

Police said a man, apparently acting alone, tried to rob Bank of the West at 13th and J streets shortly after 9. Then, while police responded to that alarm, he walked about three blocks and robbed the U.S. Bank branch on 11th Street.

The third robbery took place at U.S. Bank at Standiford Avenue and Tully Road in north Modesto. Police said a dark blue Nissan car stopped at an outdoor teller station, connected to the bank by vacuum tube.

The male driver -- not the same man wanted in the downtown robberies -- then sent a note through the tube.

He threatened to kill the woman seated next to him in the car. The teller responded by sending cash back in the tube, and the car drove off.

Police said they are almost certain that the woman was an accomplice.

"The female did not appear to be a hostage," Detective Sgt. Al Carter said. "She was calm, she did not appear to be in distress. We do not have any reports of kidnappings or carjackings."

Police said they 

they have no evidence linking the first two robberies with the third.

The robberies started minutes after the Bank of the West opened at 9 a.m.

The robber, carrying a green canvas bag, walked up to the counter and, in a soft voice, asked for money.

"The clerk had just opened her window, so she said she did not have any money," and the man left, Carter said.

Officers were talking to witnesses there when, at 9:29, a robber walked into U.S. Bank on 11th Street. The robber, using a low voice just like in the first robbery, asked for money -- and this time he got some.

He walked out and disappeared on 11th Street.

Officers with police dogs searched the downtown area without success.

Carter said the downtown robberies were unusual, because it is risky for a robber on foot to hit two banks so close together.

The drive-up robbery was unusual, too. Carter said he has heard of drive-up robberies, when cars stop right next to the teller windows, but it is rare to see a robber use a pneumatic tube.

"I think the teller was concerned with the safety of the female in the car, not so much for her own safety," Carter said.

He added that it would have been difficult to know if the woman in the car was in actual danger.

Police gave this description of the downtown robber: black, about 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds. He wore a white knit cap, a blue zippered jacket, faded pants and black tennis shoes.

And they gave this description of the man in the Tully Road heist: black, 30 to 40, with a medium build. He wore a dark beanie and a faded jeans jacket, and was with a white woman.

Police checked out other incidents Tuesday involving men wearing knit caps or beanies. Those incidents turned out to be unrelated.

Police sent the robbers' descriptions and other information to agencies connected with a national crime-fighting network. Authorities hope to hear from other agencies about similar robberies that may have occurred elsewhere.

Anyone with information on the bank robberies is asked to call detectives, 572-9551.

 

 

Today: February 12, 2002 at 17:00:16 PST

Ex-Connecticut Student Takes Class Hostage

FAIRFIELD, Conn.- A former student claiming to have a bomb took several students and a professor hostage Tuesday inside a university classroom, a school spokeswoman said.

The suspect took over a religious studies classroom at Fairfield University, a Catholic school in southwestern Connecticut, said school spokeswoman Nancy Habetz.

Some 300 students were evacuated from the building, Canisius Hall.

Fairfield First Selectman Kenneth Flatto said the suspect released five people, leaving 17 students and a faculty member in the classroom.

"We're hoping very, very much for a peaceful resolution," Flatto said.

The class, "Voices of Medieval Women," is taught by Elizabeth A. Dreyer, an associate professor. Her husband, John Bennett, was waiting in her office Tuesday night. He said he has not spoken to his wife since the standoff began but has been in touch with university officials.

"She is a wonderful, self-possessed and inspiring teacher and a scholar," he said. "She'll bring a great deal of calmness to the situation."

Police were in contact with the suspect, whom Flatto described as a recent graduate.

University Vice President Doug Whiting said the former student was carrying either a box or a bag in which he claimed to have a bomb.

"It has not been determined whether the threat is credible," he said.

Svetlana Alyoshina, a sophomore working in the university's student center, said students were trying to find out if their friends were safe.

"A lot of people are just looking for their friends right now, because we don't know who is in there," she said. "I saw a lot of people calling home. I plan to call home tomorrow."

Fairfield police Officer Mark Fracassini said police received a call about 4:05 p.m. saying a former student was on the second floor claiming to have an explosive device.

The hall is home to the academic vice president, the College of Arts and Sciences, the university registrar and other offices as well as faculty offices and classrooms.

The school, founded in 1942, has about 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Fairfield is about 20 miles from the New York state line.

---

On the Net:

http://www.fairfield.edu

Ex-Conn. Student Takes Class Hostage
Tue Feb 12, 9:07 PM ET

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - A former student claiming to have a bomb was holding six students and a professor hostage inside a university classroom Tuesday night, authorities said.

At one point, there were 23 people inside the Fairfield University classroom, but the suspect released 16 of the students after several hours of negotiations with police, said police Detective Sgt. Gene Palazzolo.

"He's been very calm throughout this entire ordeal," Palazzolo said. "He's speaking coherently and his demeanor is calm."

The suspect took over the religious studies class at the Catholic school in southwestern Connecticut late Tuesday afternoon, said school spokeswoman Nancy Habetz.

Some 300 students were evacuated from the building, Canisius Hall.

Police Officer Mark Fracassini said police received a call around 4 p.m. saying a former student was on the second floor claiming to have an explosive device.

Fairfield First Selectman Kenneth Flatto described the suspect as a recent graduate. University Vice President Doug Whiting said the former student was carrying either a box or a bag in which he claimed to have a bomb.

"It has not been determined whether the threat is credible," he said.

The class, "Voices of Medieval Women," is taught by Elizabeth A. Dreyer, an associate professor. Her husband, John Bennett, was waiting in her office Tuesday night. He said he has not spoken to his wife since the standoff began.

"She is a wonderful, self-possessed and inspiring teacher and a scholar," he said. "She'll bring a great deal of calmness to the situation."

Student Shannon Flaherty said her roommate was one of the hostages.

"She's definitely in there," the 19-year-old sophomore said with tears in her eyes. "I saw her just hours ago."

Svetlana Alyoshina, a sophomore working in the university's student center, said students were trying to find out if their friends were safe.

"A lot of people are just looking for their friends right now, because we don't know who is in there," she said.

Evening classes were canceled and students were holding a prayer service in one of the residence halls, student Joni Saunders said.

Canisius Hall is home to the academic vice president, the College of Arts and Sciences, the university registrar and other offices as well as faculty offices and classrooms.

 

 
 

 

Photos

AP Photo
Suspect Detained in WSJ Kidnapping Tue Feb 12, 4:37 PM ET

By KATHY GANNON, Associated Press Writer

Police arrested a British-born Islamic militant Tuesday they say masterminded the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl the biggest break yet in the quest to free him. An official close to the investigation said the suspect told police Pearl is alive.

Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, 27, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in the eastern city of Lahore, according to Tasneem Noorani, a senior official of Pakistan's Interior 

 Ministry. Saeed was flown to Karachi late Tuesday for further questioning, the government news agency reported.

Following the arrest, police fanned out across this city of 14 million people, raiding homes of suspected Islamic extremists and searching settlements along the bleak and thinly populated Pakistani coast. Police cautioned that rescuing Pearl could still take time.

Saeed "is one who is highly educated and one who I would feel is a hard nut to crack," Karachi Police Chief Kamal Shah said. "I don't think it would be very easy to break him straight away. It would take time I feel before we get all the details about Daniel from his interrogation."

Saeed's capture followed an intensive, nationwide manhunt and was announced ahead of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's meeting Wednesday with President Bush (news - web sites) in Washington. Musharraf is expected to seek U.S. economic and political support to help combat Muslim extremism in this predominantly Islamic country of 147 million people.

The Pearl kidnapping has been an embarrassment for Musharraf, who's been trying to dispel Pakistan's image as a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism. Saeed's arrest is a boost for the Pakistani leader as he meets Bush.

Pearl, 38, the Journal's South Asia bureau chief, disappeared Jan. 23 on his way to meet with Islamic extremist contacts. He was believed working on a story about links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, the man accused of trying to detonate explosives hidden in his sneakers on a Paris-to-Miami flight in December.

Jamil Yousuf, head of a citizen-police liaison committee involved in the investigation, said the bearded, bespectacled Saeed told police that threats to kill Pearl were not carried out. "He's alive. He's OK," Yousuf quoted Saeed as saying of Pearl.

Yousuf said the key break came Monday night with the arrest of a suspect in the capital of Islamabad who gave crucial information. Yousuf did not elaborate.

Several more arrests were reported in Karachi, Rawalpindi and other major cities Tuesday.

In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said he could not confirm any details about Saeed's arrest or Pearl's reported condition. However, he said that cooperation by Pakistani authorities "has been very strong and very helpful" in the Pearl case.

Saeed was arrested in India in 1994 in connection with the kidnapping of three British backpackers in Kashmir. The kidnappers demanded the release of Islamic militants fighting to end Indian rule in the contested Himalayan region. Saeed was shot and wounded by police and the hostages were freed unharmed.

He spent the next five years in jail although never brought to trial and was freed in December 1999 after gunmen hijacked an Indian Airlines jet to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and demanded the release of Saeed and other figures.

A team of police officers from the southern province of Sindh had been in Lahore searching for Saeed for the last few days, the 

government-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan reported Tuesday.

Steve Goldstein, a vice president and spokesman for Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal's parent company, declined to comment on whether the arrest revealed new information about Pearl's abduction.

We continue to remain hopeful," Goldstein said in a telephone interview.

Police identified Saeed as the prime suspect in the case after arresting three men suspected of sending e-mails that announced Pearl's kidnapping.

One of the three men who was found to have the e-mails on his laptop computer told investigators that he got them from Saeed, police said. The other two said they had met Saeed in Afghanistan, police said.

The three suspected e-mailers were formally charged with kidnapping Tuesday and ordered jailed for two more weeks by a special anti-terrorism court in Karachi.

Those suspects were brought to Sindh province's High Court in an armored personnel carrier surrounded by 20 machine-gun toting policemen wearing helmets and bulletproof vests. They were chained together at the waist, their heads and faces covered by shawls and bath towels. They were led into a second-story courtroom but presiding Judge Shabir Ahmed decided to hear their case in his chambers.

The trio had been due in court Monday but proceedings were delayed after officials decided that an anti-terrorism judge, not a civil one, should hear the case.

Four days after Pearl disappeared, an e-mail sent to Pakistani and international media showed photos of him in captivity and demanded that the United States repatriate Pakistanis captured in Afghanistan and now detained at the U.S. naval base in 

 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A second e-mail sent Jan. 30 said Pearl would be killed in 24 hours. That was the last known message from his captors.

Pearl's French wife, Mariane, is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Saeed, a first-generation Briton, is the son of a Pakistani-born clothing merchant who lives in a London suburb. Saeed attended expensive private schools where classmates and teachers regarded him as a devoted student.

On summer break from university at age 20, Saeed went to Bosnia to work with a charity. British press reports say he is believed to have developed ties there to militant Islamic groups that recruited him to fight for the secession of Indian-ruled Kashmir.

Saeed is believed to have links to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a radical group banned last month by President Musharraf.

 

 

DEES DREAMS AND VISIONS - ARCHIVE PAGE

DREAMS OF THE GREAT EARTHCHANGES - MAIN INDEX