FBI probes suspicious incident at Jewish girls middle school

November 05, 2003|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

Officials at a Jewish girls middle school in Mount Washington told parents last week that the FBI is investigating a Middle Eastern couple who were spotted videotaping the Smith Avenue campus and pupils.

Shlomo Spetner, president of Bais Yaakov School for Girls, wrote to parents on Oct. 31 that a parent had spotted a car with a man and woman who appeared to be Middle Eastern.

The parent reported to the school's principal and police that the pair videotaped the entrance to the school and the girls as they were leaving the building.

When the parent approached them, according to the letter and a police report, they fled.

The parent reported the license plate number of the car, and Baltimore County Police, and members of the FBI's terrorism task force have questioned the driver and are in contact with him, Spetner said.

The man is a Saudi national who is a student at a local college, Spetner said. According to a police report, he lives in the Fallstaff neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore.

FBI spokesman Larry Foust confirmed that the matter is being investigated but would not comment on the details.

Spetner wrote in the letter to parents that the FBI told school officials that it knew of no threats to Jewish institutions in Baltimore but that it would continue aggressively investigating the matter.

The FBI put the school in touch with a security consultant, who has performed an analysis of the campus. A security system was installed at the school's Park Heights Avenue campus last year and a similar system is being evaluated for the middle school.

Arthur Rose, the school's executive vice president, said the school has received responses to the letter from worried parents and that it is taking "aggressive steps" to ensure security.

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