CNN BREAKING NEWS
View From Rest Stop Where Killer May Have Been Caught
Aired October 24, 2002 - 13:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to immediately go to our Bob Franken. He's at that rest stop in Maryland where the two suspects were apprehended literally in the middle of the night, around 3:00 a.m.
Precisely what happened at that scene -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ponder for a moment, Wolf, if you're driving into this rest stop and suddenly you notice along this row of cars somewhere around here, you suddenly notice the car that has been on the news all evening long. You notice that it's the license plate. That's exactly what happened to a man whose name we don't have yet. He pulled his white van into the parking lot, went over there into the office area, told the man who works there -- a gentleman by the name of Larry Blank -- that he had spotted car. And then called 911, called the Maryland State Police.
The Maryland State Police responded by sending their officers, three officers, who then got the process going, and the arrest happened a couple of hours later.
Meanwhile, they told the man who made the call and Mr. Blank to get in a white van, the white van driven by the person who made the call, and wait. Larry Blank recounted what turned out to be a chilling evening in a conversation on CNN with Paula Zahn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY BLANK, MAN WHO SPOTTED CAR: About 1:00, I heard a lot of -- about 1:00, I heard a lot of noise on my scanner, activity from my scanner. And then, I noticed that the exit ramp was blocked with trucks. So, I went walked up there, and the man in the white van that did the actual calling rolled his window down, and I asked him what was going on, and he asked me to get in the van and lock the door.
He was on the telephone with the police, and it was a cell phone. And they told him to tell me to stay put. Then, we had a little conversation about, you know, that he was the one that reported the vehicle to the police.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Wow! So, you actually heard the whole conversation that this man had with police when he alerted them to the Caprice being there. What did he say?
BLANK: Well, he was real exciting -- and nervous and excited about the same time, I guess. He was trying to make the police understand, and I guess the police, you know, surrounded the whole rest area, and told us we needed to stay put, that they was going to have ATF -- all kinds of people come running in there.
About 1:00 I heard a lot of noise on my scanner, activity on my scanner. And I noticed that the exit ramp was blocked to trucks. So I went walking up there and the man in the white van that did the actual calling, I asked him what was going on and he asked me to get in the van and lock the door. He was the one talking with the police on a cell phone. And they told him to tell me to stay put. Then we had a conversation about he -- the report -- he reported the vehicle to the police.
Wow. So you actually heard the whole conversation that this man had with police when he alerted them to the caprice being there. What did he say?
He was real excited been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at the same time and the police understanding, the police surrounded the whole rest area. And told us to stay put because they was going to have ATF and all kinds of people running in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: Now, when the ATF and the FBI and all kinds of people, as Mr. Blank put it, swarmed into scene, that was after the police had gathered about a mile or so away in Myersville. They had gathered over there, a tactical force gathered while other forces watched the car to make sure that it didn't leave. They very methodically planned the arrests, Wolf, making sure that they could come in and sneak up, have the element of surprise -- and they were able to do it -- and to arrest two people that they now suspect had relied so heavily on the element of surprise to do their murderous work, all of the snipings that have so terrorized the Washington area and points south and north for the last three weeks-plus.
When the arrests were made, there were all manner of police here. We've been told that there were like 70 police officers who descended on the scene -- federal agencies, local agencies, state police and the like. About 50 vehicles they had, including some pretty sophisticated evidence-gathering ones. But they had to wait for a search warrant before they could remove the car and take it to where it's really will get a thorough going-over as police try now to build their case and hope that the reign of terror that has been going on for more than three weeks is over -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Bob, were you there when they brought that van over to put the Chevy Caprice inside and to bring that, to transport that, Chevy Caprice here to Rockville, Maryland, not very far way if you go down Interstate 270. Did you watch all that unfold?
FRANKEN: Well, we didn't actually see the van arrive. We were aware that it had, that it would not be taken by a tow truck. If you look at the parade of vehicles that had left here, you will see that there was a tow truck that had been sent, but rather it was put into that trailer to be taken all of the way to Rockville. And of course, there was quite a parade of vehicles that followed it.
But no, we were not there. We got here actually well before that. We arrived but were not allowed to go into this rest area. It was sealed off. The police sealed it off entirely, both front and back, and we had a vantage point that was overhead. But we were not given privy to this area until a couple of hours ago.
BLITZER: And that picture we're seeing now on our screen, that van inside the Chevy Caprice was eventually -- arrived here in Rockville to a garage, and then the Chevy Caprice was actually taken out and is now being examined, presumably for evidence.
Bob Franken, thanks for that report. We'll get back you to, of course, throughout the day.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com