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Five men questioned in burglary at San Antonio courthouse

October 19, 2011 |  8:07 am

Five men arrested on suspicion of burglary at a San Antonio county courthouse early Wednesday were in custody and being questioned by federal and local officials attempting to determine their nationality and motive.

“I’m not sure the extent to which they are cooperating,” said Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Louis Antu.

Antu said investigators have not released the men’s names. Officials said the men, in their early to mid-20s, were not armed when they were detained at the old Bexar County Courthouse, a historic building still used as a courthouse.

“They were all cooperative; there was no incident when they were apprehended,” Antu told The Times. “They are still being interviewed to see why they were in the building.”

Antu could not confirm that the men were Moroccan, as was reported by San Antonio police officers who responded to a call at the courthouse at 1:40 a.m. and discovered three of the men inside. Two other men were in a recreational vehicle that was seized by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. 

He said investigators recovered some items from the RV, but he could not say what. He said there was no sign the men were terrorists.

“We don’t have any indication that that’s what they were,” he said.

An FBI spokesman said it was still unclear whether the men were involved in a terrorist plot.

“We’re working to confirm the immigration status of these individuals,” Special Agent Erik Vasys, a spokesman for the FBI’s San Antonio office, told The Times.

Investigators from the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were questioning the men Wednesday morning, Vasys said.

“We don’t see that there’s any public safety threat ongoing,” he said. “We’re sorting out who these individuals are and what their motivations were and if there is any federal violation to pursue.”

An ICE spokeswoman in San Antonio did not return calls Wednesday morning.

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-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston

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