Local News

Commuters Alerting Police To White Vans In Triangle

Posted October 17, 2002 5:39 a.m. EDT

— Police in Raleigh stopped a suspicious vehicle along the Beltline Thursday morning that matched the description of the vehicle allegedly used by a sniper in the Washington, D.C. area.

The vehicle, described as a white Chevrolet Astro van with Maryland plates, was stopped before 9 a.m.

Police said two men inside the van were delivering beauty supplies to Raleigh. A search of the van found nothing suspicious; however, the men were brought to the Raleigh Police Department for questioning.

"These people are here actually making deliveries here in the Raleigh area out of [Washington,] D.C. so they're here apparently on legitimate business," said Capt. D.S. Overman, of the Raleigh Police Department.

On Tuesday, a man driving a white-panel Ford van with Virginia plates and a ladder rack on top checked into a Durham hotel. Another customer asked the manager to call police and check it out and they did. Although it turned out to be a false alarm, it illustrates just how alert people have become, especially along interstate highways.

The Zeleny family are on their way to Asheville to get away from the sniper madness around their Maryland home. They said they have been thinking about white vans and who could be driving them.

"It could be in the construction business. I'm in the construction business and that's all we drive is white vans," said Jim Zeleny.

Raleigh police are getting one or two "sniper van" calls a day. Durham police said there are getting a number of calls as well.