‘See something, say something’ … and be scorned, bus passenger says
A North Bergen man said he was the subject of scorn from his fellow passengers and indifference from police after reporting an unattended bag on board a bus from South Carolina.
John Heinlein was returning home when he and other passengers noticed a man who was staying close to his bags, he told the Jersey Journal. When the bus hit Virginia, the man put the bag in the luggage hold, but the man was gone when the bus left a stop in Delaware, Heinlein said, according to the report.
Heinlein reportedly said that concerned over the unattended bag, he called Delaware State Police, then New Jersey State Police and eventually Port Authority Police — and was told there was nothing they could do each time. He said the bus driver pulled over and "and he wants to fight me" for causing delays.
"Now people on the bus were hearing me, and they were making fun of me, saying I got a bomb, saying 'Click your heels together and you're gonna blow up,'" the report quoted Heinlein saying.
Heinlein said he eventually called 911 and police stopped the bus — while other passengers yelled "keep going" — as it rolled toward the Holland Tunnel, according to the report. Heinlein said he was patted down and separated from other passengers after a man who had been riding with Heinlein claimed he was crazy, the report said.
Inside the bag, police found 16 cartons of cigarettes, according to the report. Port Authority Police told the newspaper they took Heinlein's call seriously and that he did the right thing.