Urban Moving Systems and Detained Israelis
by Scott DaVault
|Could the key to understanding the World Trade Center tragedy be found in detention in our country? This reporter believes that it is, and that the vast majority of Americans are not being told the truth. A story in Philadelphia's The Mercury may hold the answer.|
2 found with video of Sears Tower
Michelle Mowad, Special to The Mercury October 17, 2001
|PLYMOUTH -- Two men whom police described as
Middle Eastern were detained in the township by
federal imigration authorities after being found with
detailed footage of the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Plymouth Police encountered the men after an officer
responded to Pizzeria Uno on the 1000 block of West
Ridge Pike at 2:40 p.m. Thursday for a report of
illegal dumping, according to reports. A manager
there advised the police officer that a
tractor-trailer was observed backed up to the
dumpster at the rear of the restaurant. The manager
noticed a freshly dumped pile of furniture adjacent
to the dumpster, according to police. |
The manager confronted the vehicle's operator, a Middle Eastern man, police said. The man, who later identified himself as Moshe Elmakias, 30, denied that he did anything and fled the scene, heading west on West Ridge Pike, according to police.
The manager was able to provide township police with the Florida registration number of the tractor-trailer and said that a sign posted on the side of the vehicle read "Moving Systems Incorporated" and included a phone number, police said.
The area was searched by township police, and the vehicle was spotted parked on the curb in front of John Kennedy ford on Ridge Pike, Just west of Industrial Way.
An officer proceeded to make contact with the occupants of the truck by knocking on the cab, according to reports. A Middle Eastern man, later identified as Ron Katar, 23, exited the sleeper area of the cab and said that the operator was across the street as he pointed toward the Don Rosen porsche dealer, reports said.
Elmakias and a white female, Ayelet Reisler, 23, were approaching the vehicle from the dealership, but the female then began walking in a different direction, acting as if she were not with Elmakias, according to reports.
Reisler was detained and checked for identification. She had a German passport in her name and medication in a different name, police said. Plymouth Police Sgt. Thomas Longo was notified and responded to the incident.
Elmakias allegedly admitted to being behind Pizzeria Uno, although he said that he did not dump furniture, he was only turning around. Elmakias said that his destination was New York and that he was also coming from New York. He said he was in Plymouth because he was supposed to make a pickup from a male in the morning and pointed toward the Storage USA facility on Belvoir Road and West Ridge Pike, police said. Elmakias could not, however, provide a name or telephone number of the customer. Township police dispatched a request for a Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Inspector.
Officer Gerald Schwartz of the Whitpain Police Department responded. Schwartz discovered through his investigation that the operator's log had been falsified and put the truck out of service due to violations, police said. In addition, the vehicle reportedly had numerous equipment violations that rendered the truck unsafe.
Inspection of the tractor-trailer's contents revealed a load three-quarters full containing household items, including furniture and boxes. Among the items in the truck was a Sony video camera.
Plymouth Police Officer David McCann reviewed the tape found inside the camera. The tape had video footage of Chicago with zoomed-in shots of the Sears Tower, according to police.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified of the incident and all three subjects were transported to the Plymouth Police station. The subjects were then processed through the National Crime Information center and placed into detention, according to the report.
FBI Agents James Sweeney and Richard Tofani arrived at the station and proceeded to investigate both the subjects and their belongings with the assistance of Immigration and Naturalization Services. Elmakias and Katar were eventually detained by INS and transported to a federal facility, said police. Reisler was released.
All evidence collected by Plymouth and Whitpain officers was transferred to federal facilities with the exeption of a VCR. Special Agent Linda Vizi, as spokeswoman for the Philadelphia and FBI, could not be contacted for comment on further investigations.
Closer to New York, FBI agents and Bergen County Sheriff's Department crime scene technicians spent three hours Thursday night searching the Weehawken headquarters of Urban Moving Systems at 3W 18th St.
Investigators first became interested in the business after witnesses reported Tuesday that three men seemed to celebrate the World Trade Center explosions in Liberty State Park, then drove away in a company van. 'To the best of my knowledge, my client Urban Moving Systems and Dominik Suter are not targets,' said attorney Jay Hamill of Jersey City. 'This is an informational situation. We're cooperating completely and have objected to nothing they've requested.'
Agents took pictures inside the company's office Thursday night and seized 13 computer hard drives. They also showed a keen interest in the roof, which had a very clear view of the World Trade Center until Tuesday. A half-dozen agents searched the roof with flashlights and appeared particularly interested in the sight lines from the roof toward downtown Manhattan.
East Rutherford police stopped an Urban Moving Systems van on Route 3 Tuesday and detained five men inside, at least some of them company employees. The occupants said they were all Israelis. They were being detained because they are in violation of immigration regulations, and all have expressed a desire to leave the country on their own, according to an Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman. An employee of Urban Moving Systems, who would not give his name, said the majority of his co-workers are Israelis and were joking on the day of the attacks.
'I was in tears,' the man said. 'These guys were joking and that bothered me. These guys were like, "Now America knows what we go through."
See also: Israel and 9/11 - Index of What Really Happened
What Really Happened