A interstate search for a man believed to be a threat to President Obama ended in New Jersey Tuesday night as state police and FBI officials took the suspect into custody along the NJ Turnpike only to later deem the situation as “nothing.”
The highway was closed in both directions between exits 1 and 4 around 6:30 p.m. as state police and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force closed in on a 27-year-old man believed to be driving a bomb to Washington D.C., according to state police.
Traffic was diverted onto I-295 during the 30-mile road closure.
The FBI bureau in Boston received a tip call early Tuesday evening from a relative of the Massachusetts man saying they believed he was traveling to Washington to cause harm to the president.
Officials issued a bulletin for authorities to be on the lookout for his vehicle.
The suspect’s black Acura was spotted traveling south on the New Jersey Turnpike and was pulled over about six miles south of the Runnemede/Exit 3. The man was taken into custody as the bomb squad sent a robot to search for a device.
As the investigation continued, officials determined that the relative’s accusation was unfounded. The man apparently was heading to Washington, D.C. for his job.
Officials said they did not find a device nor feel the suspect proved to be a threat. The man was released from custody soon after.
"Indications are this was erroneous information, albeit credible-sounding information, and at this point it seems to indicate that this was not a legitimate threat," state police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Jones said.
At 9:30 p.m., the highway was reopened between exits 1 and 2. The northbound lanes between exits 2 and 4 reopened around 10:00 p.m. The southbound lanes then reopened around 10:15 p.m.