CBS News in Chicago reports that a man carrying a Middle Eastern passport who entered the Eugene Sawyer Water Purification Plant with a duffle bag was charged with trespassing and then vanished. The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and Homeland Security were notified after Sharon Augustine made his way onto the South Side water plant.
A former Chicago Police official who has studied municipal water systems, Richard Schak, said he hoped the incident didn’t fall through the cracks. The man could have simply gotten lost or he could be “someone that’s looking, casing, trying to find something that’s vulnerable,” Schak said.
Augustine, who was carrying a Pakistani passport and may have lived in Palatine, Ill., at one time, had numerous previous arrests. In the past he had pleaded guilty to two separate drug charges in Wisconsin, and last year he was charged with a misdemeanor after Palatine police stopped him with “an ax in the waistband of his pants” and a gym bag containing an expandable baton, duct tape and more.
A spokesperson for the city Department of Water Management, citing security, would not tell CBS how Augustine got access, though the spokesman said the man never breached “critical areas.” The spokesperson said the department was reviewing the incident to determine how security could be improved. READ MORE