FBI Questions Local Businesses In Terror Probe

September 22nd, 2009 by

The scope of the FBI terror investigation focused on Najibullah Zazi has grown to include a Denver-area home improvement store, where suspected inquiries were made about bomb-making materials.

In New York, agents have questioned employees at U-Haul locations over people looking to rent large trucks.

It was a regular and usual call Kim Whitefield took about renting a U-Haul truck just before this past September 11. But when FBI agents came calling on the Queens Citgo gas station where Whitefield works two days ago, it suddenly seemed unusual.

“I was surprised to see the FBI here a week later, trying to find out if I had seen them,” Whitefield said. “I said I vaguely remember a call, but they didn’t come here.”

CBS 2 has learned that investigators have questioned workers at several Jamaica locations.

Tony Reid says investigators showed him photographs of several suspects, but only his attendant, who’s still too shaken to speak on camera, recognized anyone.

“They didn’t come about no trucks, they just got gas, I know for sure,” Reid said.

A Daily News report claims investigators are now turning their terror probe to seven Afghan men who allegedly tried to rent a truck at another location on September 9.

The men were turned away, however, because none could produce a valid credit card and refused to surrender identification, the report says.

The men looking for a truck in New York were reportedly looking for a 26-foot truck. Exactly what they wanted that much space for, nobody is yet certain.

One published report claims that the primary person trying to rent a truck was a Queens imam. That man told CBS 2 on Saturday night that he never tried to rent anything, and that he has no direct connection to the primary focus of investigators, Najibullah Zazi.

“This is a very active investigation,” terrorism expert Bob Strang said. “Anything can happen.”

Strang says a larger, more complex investigation is to be expected in New York and Denver, and investigation already hitting small businesses in Queens.

“It becomes a little more real when it’s close to home,” Whitefield said.

The FBI would not speak about the investigation Saturday.

CBS 2′s Ross Palombo contributed to this report.

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