updated 5/3/2004 5:59:50 PM ET 2004-05-03T21:59:50

A transit system security memo warned that five suspicious bags left at spots around the city within one week could be a test run for terrorist bombings.

The memo, issued by a security unit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, asked security patrols to report any similar findings of unattended bags. The alert was first reported Sunday by The New York Post.

The city has remained at its maximum security level since the 2001 World Trade Center attack, and the March train bombings in Spain led to further jitters. At Grand Central Terminal, a hub for subway and commuter trains, recorded announcements routinely remind riders that unattended bags will be confiscated and searched.

“In this day and age, you can’t take any chances,” MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said Monday, stressing that the memo was issued as a precaution.

FBI spokesman Jim Margolin said some of the bags were empty and others had non-threatening contents; it appeared at least one of the bags belonged to a homeless person, he said Monday.

The bags were discovered over about a week in late March and early April, said Kelly. They included an empty, beat-up suitcase found in the main waiting room of Penn Station, and another empty bag discovered the same day near a federal building that houses the FBI’s New York office.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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