VIDEO: Cell Phones, Hidden Explosives & Boat Rentals Add to Potential Terror Mystery in Missouri
As recent events in Paris and California have shifted American’s concerns back to a focus on terrorism, with polls showing only 37 percent, Democrats as well as Republicans, approving of the job President Obama is doing on that front, and revelations about the lax vetting process of Muslims seeking visas, local law enforcement officials are seeing themselves as the first line of defense in preventing terror attacks at home.
Now a disturbing incident in the heartland has drawn the attention of a sheriff’s office in Missouri as reports of a group of men making inquiries about the Bagnell Dam aroused suspicion.
Scott Hines, the Public Information Officer of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office told local reporters that a waitress at a Golden Corral restaurant in Osage Beach reported that a group of men she described as “Middle Eastern” were asking about the nearby dam, wanting to know if it was possible to rent a boat and tour the dam.
Hines said the Sheriff’s Office has forwarded the report of the incident to the FBI and has not increased its security measures pending any notification from the federal bureau.
The hydroelectric-generating dam is located in the center of Missouri impounding the Osage River and creating the Lake of the Ozarks, the largest reservoir in the state.
The national park surrounding the lake is a popular tourist spot with resorts and golf courses that draw thousands of boaters on the Fourth of July.
At least five law enforcement agencies in Missouri are coordinating to share information about reports of men buying suspiciously large numbers of pre-paid cellphones and laptop computers at Wal-Mart stores throughout the state.
The purchases were made in Columbia, site of the state university, Jefferson City, the capital, and three smaller cities, Macon, Ava, and Lebanon.
Three of the locations were along a 90-mile stretch of State Highway 63; another two continuing south on Interstate 44 within 50 miles of Ft. Leonard Wood Army Base.