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Thursday, May 6, 2010
NewsCrimeTimes Square car bomb video: Police eye surveillance tape, hunt for man caught near scene

Times Square car bomb video: Police eye surveillance tape, hunt for man caught near scene

Originally Published:Monday, May 3rd 2010, 1:49 AM
Updated: Monday, May 3rd 2010, 9:07 AM

NYPD have released video from Times Square, eye suspect (with object, above and below) who may have been involved in Saturday night's failed car bombing.
DCPI
NYPD have released video from Times Square, eye suspect (with object, above and below) who may have been involved in Saturday night's failed car bombing.
DCPI

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Cops are hunting a man caught on tape moments after an SUV packed with enough fuel, fertilizer and explosives to ignite a massive fireball was abandoned in Times Square.

"The intent was to cause a significant ball of fire," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Sunday. "It's a sobering reminder that New York is clearly a target for people who want to come here and do us harm."

Security cameras captured a white man who appears to be in his 40s leaving the scene near the bomb-laden Nissan Pathfinder on W. 45th St. - engine running, hazard lights flashing and smoke curling from its vents.

On the video, the man takes off a dark shirt to reveal a red one underneath as he hurries along Shubert Alley.

"He looks around, takes off that shirt, puts it in a bag and continues to walk south, looking a couple of times in a furtive manner," Kelly said.

A Pennsylvania tourist who was videotaping mounted cops in Times Square reported he also may have filmed the suspect "lunging" away from the car - and NYPD detectives went to check his film, Kelly said.

Inside the SUV, cops found dozens of M-88 firecrackers, three tanks of BBQ-style propane, two red plastic jugs of gasoline and a metal locker densely packed with eight supermarket bags of fertilizer.

The whole thing was wired to two cheap yellow old-fashioned travel alarm clocks set to work in tandem - one blowing up the propane tanks and the other exploding the contents of the locker.

Kelly said experts are investigating why the bomb didn't detonate.

The materials were primitive, but if the SUV had blown up, officials said, the inferno would have burned brighter than the blazing billboards in the Crossroads of the World.

Investigators said the fertilizer was not explosive-grade and would not have produced the kind of devastation associated with ammonium nitrate bombs - like the one in Oklahoma City in 1995.

The danger was still in the propane tanks, said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. "Had these tanks gone off it would have, in all likelihood, resulted in people being killed, windows being shattered, but not resulting in a building collapse," he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the feds were treating the incident as "a potential terrorist attack" but also as a possible "one-off" - or lone-wolf attacker.

Preliminary signs suggested "that this was not part of any plot by Al Qaeda or another known terrorist organization," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

He said the feds picked up no overseas "chatter" before Saturday night's attempted attack.

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