Mad Photographer on the Loose
Texas City authororities and and the Feds are looking for some one in a white van who has had the audacity to take pictures of a couple of the refinerys in Texas City. I myself have taken pictures from outside the fence of several oil and chemical plants and understand that the Patriot Act still doesn't make this activity illegal. However if this guy decides to give himself up, there is a good he could end up locked up and hidden away for a long time. The Texas City Sun reports
Police and local homeland security officials spent most the afternoon Saturday searching for a white van that had been seen around local refineries.
Security personnel and eye-witnesses near the industrial complex reported to police a white man with dark hair and wearing a white T-shirt driving the van, stopping to take photographs of local petrochemical facilities.
While the actions of the driver are not in themselves illegal, security officials are interested in talking with the driver and an unspecified passenger about their activities. Reports to Texas City police spotted the van, which was also marked with some sort of company name on the side, near the Marathon and Valero refineries.
Security personnel at both plants declined comment on the incident. Attempts to reach public affairs personnel for the facilities on a weekend were unsuccessful.
As is procedure in such cases, the Joint Terrorism Task Force for this region was alerted to the incident and “the ball is already rolling on this one (to find out what the driver was up to),” said Texas City’s Homeland Security Director Bruce Clawson.
Such incidents are actually not that all uncommon in the region. Most cases turn out to be benign, but security officials are intense nonetheless.
“You can never be too careful in these cases,” Clawson said in a previous interview about the Terrorism Task Force. “When we have a report of suspicious activity everyone in the task force (local police, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and various other law enforcement agencies) work it until we have an answer as to what was going on.
“No one rests until we have an answer.”
As of late Saturday afternoon, police had been unable to find the van or its passengers for questioning.
Still, the activity searching for the van had some who work near the city’s industrial complex wondering.
“I had a buddy call me who works at one of the plants and tell me about it. I don’t know what to think about what’s going on,” said Lance Blawcock of Bacliff, who was at a store on Texas Avenue while a couple of patrol cars were visibly searching for the van.
In addition to contacting local officials, residents have other avenues to report suspicious activity. Last year, the Join Terrorism Task Force established a toll-free hotline for people to report suspicious activity such as what some saw Saturday.
That number is (877) 283-1809.