Crisis Actors

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Crisis Actors Guide to Suspicious Behavior - Part 1

Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Wholesale Distributors of Beauty and Drug Products

The activities outlined here may give you ideas as an actor for suspicious behavior, dialog, and action in training exercises.

These activities have been compiled from a review of terrorist events over several years.

They are by no means all-inclusive for Crisis Actors scenarios.

For wholesale distributors of beauty and drug products, suspicious customers may:

  • Have burn marks on their hands, arms, or face
  • Be missing a hand or fingers, have bright colored stains on clothing, emit strange odors
  • Significantly alter their appearance from visit to visit (shaving beard, changing hair color, style of dress, etc)
  • Purchase only chemicals and no other beauty supplies
  • Not work at or own a salon
  • Have a preoccupation with the concentration levels of Hydrogen Peroxide or Acetone
  • Ask about boiling or making liquid more concentrated
  • Make comments involving radical theology, vague or cryptic warnings, anti-U.S. sentiments
  • Travel illogical distance to store, use a lookout or be picked-up
  • Exhibit nervous or suspicious behavior, be evasive or vague about intended use of products.

These customers' purchase activities may include:

  • Requests for large quantities of Hydrogen Peroxide or Acetone
  • Numerous smaller purchases of Hydrogen Peroxide or Acetone (consumer grade HP is 3-6%)
  • Requests for higher concentrations or information on how to do that themselves
  • Quantity desired inconsistent with use; illogical explanation for supplies
  • Purchase of storage containers (glass jars or plastic buckets), mixing utensils, and/or rubber gloves, in conjunction with Hydrogen Peroxide/Acetone

A vigilant wholesale distributor will:

  • Require valid ID from all new customers.
  • Keep records of purchases.
  • Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to and observe their responses.
  • Make note of suspicious statements, people, and/or vehicles.
  • If something seems wrong, notify law enforcement authorities.
  • Not jeopardize their safety or the safety of others.
  • Report to the Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC - - 888-705-JRIC) and mention "Tripwire."

The distributor must remember that just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance, or way of life is different it does not mean that he or she is suspicious.

Some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement professionals in a larger context to determine whether there is a basis to investigate.

The collection of this information was supported by Grant Number 2007-MU-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Each indicator listed above is, by itself, lawful conduct or behavior and may also constitute the exercise of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In addition, there may be a wholly innocent explanation for conduct or behavior that appears suspicious in nature. For this reason, no single indicator should be the sole basis for law enforcement action. The totality of behavioral indicators and other relevant circumstances should be evaluated when considering any law enforcement response or action.

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