Major police activity in downtown Boston; FBI teams converge on hotel in Back Bay

Wednesday, September 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ A heavily armed FBI team searching for suspects in the terrorism attacks in New York and Washington stormed a Boston hotel Wednesday, and a witness said someone was seen being put in a van.

A couple of dozen officers, wearing bulletproof vests and carrying shields, were seen bringing fiber-optic equipment into the Westin Hotel in the Back Bay section.

WHDH-TV reported the officers were using the equipment to check under hotel room doors on hotel's 16th floor, quoting a person who was inside the hotel.

``SWAT teams were all around holding machine guns,'' said witness R.J. Ryan of Boston, who joined hundreds of other onlookers outside the hotel.

``They put somebody in the van,'' Ryan said. ``Then they started moving everybody.''

Three ambulances and a police car were stationed outside the hotel as a crowd of onlookers gathered there. Police officers returned repeatedly to a police truck outside to retrieve the fiber-optic equipment, which can be slipped under doors to see inside rooms, WHDH-TV reported.

Meanwhile, other officers converged on the Park Inn at Chestnut Hill in Newton, a Boston suburb. Newton police officer Russ Adam said the FBI was conducting an investigation at the hotel. A clerk at the hotel confirmed the agents were there but said he could not say anything more.

Law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said a hotel room in the Boston area believed to have been used by one of the hijackers was searched but no arrests were made. The officials said the room was vacant but included information linking it a name on the manifest of one of the hijacked flights. They declined to identify the man.