The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 17, 2013

Conflicting reports of arrest in Boston bombings

— BOSTON (AP) — Police and reporters converged on the federal courthouse in a jittery Boston on Wednesday amid reports of a breakthrough in the investigation of the marathon bombings and conflicting information on whether a suspect was in custody.

Several media outlets reported earlier in the day that a suspect had been identified from surveillance video taken at a department store between the sites of the two bomb blasts, which killed three people and wounded more than 170.

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that a suspect was in custody. The official, who was not authorized to divulge details of the investigation, said the suspect was expected in federal court.

But the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said no arrests had been made.

"Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack," the FBI said in a statement. "Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting."

The official who spoke to the AP did so on condition of anonymity and stood by the information even after it was disputed. A news briefing was planned later Wednesday.

A bomb threat forced the evacuation of the courthouse in midafternoon, the U.S. Marshals Service said, and security officials were sweeping the area.

Law enforcement agencies have pleaded for the public to come forward with photos, videos or any information that might help them solve the twin bombings. Police also gathered surveillance video from businesses around the finish line.

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