Surrounded by police presence, Maccabi athletes head to party

August 14, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

With an entourage of security befitting a presidential motorcade, about 2,000 young Jewish athletes in town for the JCC Maccabi Games were escorted and watched over by scores of police officers in a bus caravan from Baltimore to a party at Arundel Mills mall in Hanover.

Motorists who encountered the scene about 7 p.m. reported seeing 20 to 30 buses escorted by police motorcycles and cruisers. Officers also were perched along Beltway overpasses with rifles strapped across their backs or watching with binoculars, and several police helicopters flew overhead.

Officers from Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, state police and federal agents provided the security detail for the route, which took the athletes from Interstate 83 to the Beltway and Route 100, where the procession slowed traffic approaching Arundel Mills.

The athletes had a four-hour outing that took over Jillian's, a restaurant and entertainment complex at the mall.

Baltimore County police Cpl. Robert Carman said a "boatload" of officers were involved, but he could not give a number. "Let's just say it would be very difficult for something to happen," he said.

Police and JCC Maccabi Games staff have had tight security for the five-day event, which began Sunday. Officials have said the security is not the result of any direct terrorism threat and was planned before the attacks of Sept. 11.

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