Whopping 342 Reports Of Suspicious Packages Over The Weekend

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While the 10th anniversary of 9/11 passed without an attack here at home, security in New York City remains ramped up.

Vehicle checkpoints, set up after what authorities described as a specific, credible but unconfirmed threat, remained in place Monday.

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Joe Russo of T&M Protection Resources is a former Secret Service agent who believes the security could remain the same for a while longer.

“The security coverage that you see out here will probably be out here for as long as it takes, and until they prove this thing one way or the other,” he told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.

Some people are under the impression that such heightened security stops would be over by Monday. However, police sources told CBS 2 that will continue through much of the week, Guzman reported.

“We were in  a taxi and we got pulled over,” said Marv Williams, a tourist from Los Angeles. “They checked the trunk. Who cares? I think it’s good.”

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Since last Thursday, New Yorkers have been seeing and dealing with the checkpoints, which have included inspections of small trucks and vans.  Subway, backpack and vehicle checks also continued Monday.

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Truck driver Eddie Belfiore was among those pulled over, but he told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane the delay was alright.

“Whatever it takes, you know what I mean? You can’t let these people, you know, take advantage of this city, of this country,” Belfiore said. “If this is what we gotta do, this is what we gotta do. I don’t mind.”

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People will continue to see bomb-sniffing dogs, heavily armed officers and be subject to aforementioned bag checks.

“We will be holding our tours, holding our personnel, for an additional four hours” through today, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said over the weekend. “Effectively increasing by a third the size of our patrol, transit and counterterrorism, highway and traffic bureau.”

All this comes as authorities continue to look into the possibility three individuals may have been tasked to create mayhem using car bombs or by targeting area bridges and tunnels.

At least two of the three purported operatives may be U.S. citizens, officials said. So far, there’s been no evidence those operatives have managed to get other operatives into the United States, officials said over the weekend.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Brown said reports of suspicious packages over the weekend were about three times higher than normal.

“Last year, we had about 92 of those reports and so far, we’ve had 342,” he said.

The jitters on the ground also extended into the skies. Two flights were escorted by F-16 fighter jets, including American Airlines Flight 34 from Los Angeles to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

On that flight, three disruptive passengers continually moved in and out of lavatories, locking themselves inside at one point. They eventually returned to their seats. Once on the ground, they were questioned by federal authorities and ultimately cleared. A federal air marshal was on board the flight, and the cockpit was never in danger.

“We had all these officials come on board,” said passenger Kathy Rankin. “After a few minutes, they told us we could get off the plane.”

The second scare concluded in Michigan. That’s where a SWAT team boarded a Frontier Airlines Jet on the tarmac. Suspicious activity was reported on the flight, which originated in Denver. Three passengers were handcuffed and taken off the plane, but they were later released and no charges were filed.

Police are still looking for a white Econoline van with Oklahoma plates was stolen from a self-storage facility in Jersey City. Phone lines and alarms were cut at the site of the Econoline van theft.

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What do you think of the security measures in the city? Sound off in our comments section.