The Mount Laurel store clerk who tipped authorities to the accused New Jersey jihadists watched the suspects' training videotape as part of routine quality control, a store spokesman said.

The unidentified clerk at the Circuit City store near Route 38 was hunted by more than a dozen reporters yesterday, following yesterday's Inquirer story that reported where he works. The store manager, aided by police, kept the newspeople at bay and declined to comment.

Circuit City corporate spokesman Jim Babb said it was routine for store employees to watch customer videos when dubbing a videotape onto a DVD.

"We do cooperate with law enforcement authorities who are investigating possible illegal activities," he said. "You know, when you're making a dub - and I understand that this was dub - you have to look at it for quality purposes."

The unraveling of the alleged plot to attack Fort Dix began at the Circuit City store 16 months ago, when the clerk called local police and said someone had brought a videotape to the store to be duplicated. The clerk watched it and found it "disturbing," authorities said.

It showed 10 young men in their early twenties "shooting assault weapons . . . and calling for jihad."

The Mount Laurel police called the FBI. And that, authorities said, is how the FBI investigation began.

Authorities called the clerk a hero.

"This person did what we want all citizens to do," said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie. Others familiar with the matter confirmed the store where the case began.

Contact staff writer Dwight Ott at 856-779-3844 or dott@phillynews.com.