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Published: Sunday, 10/7/2001

Untended car arouses suspicion

The FBI is investigating a suspicious automobile that was found parked in downtown Toledo Thursday with audio tapes on how to fly airplanes and other items inside, authorities said.

The Volkswagen with Oregon license plates was towed from the 200 block of North St. Clair St., near Madison Avenue.

FBI agents refused to talk about the investigation, or whether the car is possibly linked to any terrorist activities.

The vehicle was first spotted by Toledo police officers after numerous parking tickets had been placed on the windshield.

The car looked as though it had been lived in, with clothes strewn inside, authorities said.

Police then notified the FBI.

The car was towed at the FBI's request to an unspecified location, to be inspected, authorities said.

Police said it appeared the car might have been parked in the same spot - near Levis Square a block from FBI offices - for several days.

Carl Spicocchi, head of the Toledo FBI office, would not acknowledge an investigation is being conducted.

“There's a lot of stuff out there you're asking me, and I can't comment,” he said. “It may be evidence and may not be evidence. I just don't know.”

The tow report, a public document, was unavailable at the police records bureau yesterday. Police would not release the car's license number or to whom the car was registered.

Chief Michael Navarre would confirm only the location of the parked car and that “suspicious materials” were found inside. “We called the FBI immediately.”

Since the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, law enforcement agencies across the country have been on alert to report any suspicious activities or people to the FBI.

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