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During recent weeks, various sources in law enforcement and media outlets have been reporting phone kidnapping scams occurring in Central and Northern New Jersey and New York. In most incidents, scammers have alleged that a member of the phone scam victim’s family had been involved in a car accident and claimed to have taken the victim’s family member hostage. The scammers then claim they will drop their hostage at a hospital after a certain amount of money (usually $1500‐2000) is wired via Western Union to the scammers, as restitution for damage to the scammer’s vehicle. In addition, the scammers state that they have the hostage’s cell phone and any attempts to call the cell phone or disengage from the conversation will result in the murder or beating of the hostage.
This report attempts to analyze the indicators and commonalities of recent school shootings in an effort to inform public safety officials and assist in the detection and prevention of potential school shooter plots or attacks. All incidents included in this assessment occurred in the United States while classes were in session. Domestic violence shootings and gang violence were not included in an effort to differentiate between “active shooter” incidents and other acts of violence. DHS defines an “active shooter” as an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.
James Eagan Holmes, a 24-year-old male, allegedly shot and killed12 people and wounded approximately 38 more after opening fire in a crowded movie theater during a showing of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” The shooting erupted during the midnight showing at the multiplex in Aurora, Colorado, not far from Denver, where a large crowd had gathered, some dressed as characters from the highly anticipated Batman sequel. Holmes began the attack by throwing two gas canisters into the theater after entering through an exit door that had been propped open. Witnesses stated many assumed it was a promotional stunt related to the movie and did not initially react. After both canisters had deployed, Holmes commenced shooting into the crowd.
A recent terrorist attack on a resort hotel in Afghanistan demonstrates the vulnerability of hotels and other “soft” targets to these types of assaults. On June 22, 2012, Afghan forces retook a lakeside hotel outside of Kabul from a Taliban suicide assault team that was holding dozens of civilian hostages. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack, calling the hotel and others near it a “hub of obscenity and vulgarity.”
March 20, 2012 in New Jersey
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is pleased to present this opportunity for you to learn more about terrorism awareness and prevention. This program is designed to raise the awareness of New Jersey citizens and workers so they can assist in combating terrorism by enhancing powers of observation and encouraging mutual assistance and concern. It involves the joint efforts of the federal, state and local agencies along with the residents of New Jersey. While our country tells us to be more aware no one is telling is how and for what. This leaves the possibility for misunderstanding, abuses, and prejudices to surface. This program will inform citizens of what to look for and that their observations should rely on the unusual or suspicious activities and behaviors. Citizens should never use race or religion as factors for reporting suspicious activity. You, the residents and workers of New Jersey, are our partners.
February 8, 2012 in New Jersey
On January 25, 2012, police officers in Utah arrested two teenagers after discovering that they planned to bomb their high school. The plot was foiled because another student received suspicious text messages from one of the boys and notified school administrators. During the subsequent investigation, police were able to corroborate the initial tip. The two suspects had blueprints of the school and planned to steal a plane at a nearby airport after their attack. They told police they were learning to fly on a flight-simulator program on their home computers.
As of June 2010, MS-13 members in Los Angeles have directed operational activities of new MS-13 members in Birmingham, United Kingdom, using gaming consoles such as Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox 360. The MS-13 leaders appear to be taking advantage of the devices’ voice over internet protocol (VOIP), text chat, virtual world, and video teleconferencing features, which allow them to communicate with fellow gang members overseas.
“Designer drugs,” substances that have been developed especially to avoid existing drug control measures, are becoming a major concern across the nation and in New Jersey. One widely publicized “designer drug,” mephedrone, has been reported in an increasing number of countries and regions, and many countries have placed it under national control.
September 23, 2010 in New Jersey
This device, which is a “bangstick,” measuring 4 5/8” in length with a 1 ¾” barrel and capable of firing either a single .38 cal. short Colt, .38 special or .357 magnum cartridge, is intended for use by fishermen and scuba divers to kill sharks and alligators. When used in such a way it is attached to a threaded pole and then used as a prod to hit the target. A very slight tap at the end of the barrel will cause the device to discharge. The “bangstick” is considered a firearm. ATF has classified this device as an “any other weapon” that is prosecutable by 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines under Title 26, Section 5871. These devices can be found at almost any scuba or diving accessories shop.
Cyberterrorism is an attractive option for foreign-born and domestic terrorists who value its anonymity, potential to inflict massive damage, psychological impact and media appeal. As a new, more computer-savvy generation of terrorists comes of age, the threat of cyber-terror attack is likely to increase.
The NJ ROIC has been monitoring two incidents involving reactionary devices on this date, 06/27/10, one that occurred at 0100 Hours in Lakewood Twp., Ocean Co., and another that occurred at 1145 Hours in Neptune Twp., Monmouth Co. Both incidents involved reactionary devices that are being described as soda bottles (12 oz. to 2 liters) containing a strong acid or base, aluminum foil inside the container, and tape securing the bottle cap. The substances inside these bottles create a chemical reaction, which results in pressure building in the bottle. Eventually, these containers explode creating a risk to law enforcement officers and first responders. First responders should keep a distance of at least 100 feet from any of these devices as a precautionary measure.
(U//FOUO) The NJ ROIC Analysis Element has no information regarding any specific, credible threat to New Jersey or the U.S. Homeland at this time. Due to an active, federal counterterror investigation, the NJ ROIC Analysis Element produced this overview of potential targets of terrorist activity and the tactics, techniques, and procedures that extremists may use. It was produced with information from FBI and DHS, based on analysis of police investigations, thwarted plots, and past terrorist attacks.
In December 2007, the Fairfield (New Jersey) Police Department (FPD) observed a bus, registered in Florida, at a local gas station, where the driver was pumping diesel fuel through an open window into the bus. Further investigation revealed that the driver had removed the right-side seats to accommodate eighteen 55-gallon plastic drums, which he filled with approximately 300 gallons of diesel fuel before FPD impounded the bus. There were numerous equipment violations observed and the driver was issued summonses as a result. The drums were not secured and diesel fuel apparently leaked during the fueling process.
Domestic terrorist groups have historically threatened, and in some cases have executed contamination of drinking water systems. Such groups are likely to continue targeting the Water Sector in the future. These groups include, but are not limited to, hate groups, eco-terrorists, antigovernment and religiously motivated groups. International terrorist groups, specifically Islamic extremists such as al Qaeda, have shown interest in contaminating US drinking water.
The Palestinian statehood issue remains a popular and unifying cause throughout the Arab and Islamic world, and a high agenda item for militant jihadists. HAMAS is one of the principal terrorist groups involved in this conflict and uses violence in the form of terrorism to further its cause. The organization has long been designated by the US Department of State as a terrorist group. According to the State Department’s 2007 “Country Reports on Terrorism,” HAMAS receives funding from Iran, sympathetic supporters in Arab countries, and from the Palestinian diaspora around the world, including in the United States.
September 20, 2009 in New Jersey
# The arrest May 20 of four men accused of plotting to bomb a Bronx synagogue and shoot missiles at military planes in New York reminds us that homegrown extremists pose a serious and persistent threat to the United States.
# Homegrown plots have included the conspiracy against soldiers at Fort Dix, as well as plots targeting military infrastructure or Jewish institutions.