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Terrorists or Drunk Tourists? Break-in at San Antonio, Texas Courthouse Raises Security Concerns

While most people try their hardest to stay out of a court room, five young Foreign National men were arrested in the early morning hours for breaking into the local courthouse. At about 1 AM on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, alarms at the Bexar County Courthouse in Downtown San Antonio alerted local authorities that someone was on the exterior fire escape. When police arrived, they discovered two of the men outside the building with a rented R.V. and three men inside. Apparently they had used the fire escape to enter through a fourth floor window or rooftop access door. All the men are in their early 20s, were unarmed, and were in custody by 1:30 AM.

The local investigation, which gained national attention, was coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is the investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security. The suspects were questioned to determine if this was just a prank or a terrorist plot. An unnamed source said that the men inside the building appeared intoxicated on the surveillance footage and at one point they are seen wearing sombreros. Photos released by local news show the men sporting the sombreros and running down the courthouse hallways. A precautionary bomb squad sweep of the building and R.V turned up nothing and the incident is currently being investigated as a burglary. The courthouse was opened and operating for normal business at 7 AM.

Unconfirmed reports claim that the men are Moroccan. Preliminary information states that some of the men flew into New York City and the rest flew into Miami in September. The R.V. was rented in New Jersey, though it has California license plates. Authorities found 90-day visas, maps, cell phones, and computers inside the R.V. It appears that the suspects have been travelling the country as tourists.

While the breaking into a courthouse is not a common occurrence, there have been incidences in the past. In September 2007, a 17-year-old male was arrested for breaking into the Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City, OR. He did about $20,000 worth of damage. However, because the men are foreign nationals, the matter was handled as a potential threat.

At the Law Office of Dayna L. Jones we believe that the right to counsel in criminal cases is important and necessary component. Contact us at (210) 255-8525 to schedule an appointment with the attorney. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.