Sunday, May 2, 2010
Bomb found in Times Square
From Fox 5:
Police found an "amateurish" but potentially powerful bomb in a smoking sport utility vehicle in Times Square, then cleared the streets of thousands of tourists milling through the landmark district so they could dismantle it, authorities said Sunday.
"We avoided what we could have been a very deadly event," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "It certainly could have exploded and had a pretty big fire and a decent amount of explosive impact."
Investigators removed three propane tanks, fireworks, two filled 5-gallon gasoline containers, and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and other components from the back of the Nissan Pathfinder, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. A black metal box resembling a gun locker was also recovered and will be detonated off site, he said.
Bloomberg called the explosive device "amateurish" and Kelly said the explosives were consumer-grade fireworks but could have caused huge damage on a block of Broadway theaters and restaurants teeming with tourists.
"I think the intent was to cause a significant ball of fire," Kelly said.
No suspects were in custody, although Kelly said a surveillance video showed the car driving west on 45th Street before it parked between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Police were looking for more video from office buildings that weren't open at the time.
A white robotic police arm broke windows of the black Nissan Pathfinder to remove any explosive materials after a T-shirt vendor alerted police to billowing smoke coming from the back of the vehicle at about 6:30 p.m. Heavily armed police and emergency vehicles shut down the city's busiest streets, teeming with taxis and theatergoers on one of the first summer-like days of the year.
A Connecticut license plate on the vehicle did not match up, Bloomberg said. Police interviewed the Connecticut car owner, who told police he had sent the plates to a nearby junkyard, Bloomberg said.
After the vendor noticed smoke coming from the SUV, police cleared buildings and streets at the so-called "Crossroads of the World"; the south tower of a Marriott hotel was evacuated and several blocks surrounding Times Square remained closed hours later. Officers were deployed around the area with heavy weapons on empty streets in the heart of busy midtown Manhattan.