times square bomb scare

U.S. Citizen From Pakistan Arrested in Connection With Bomb Attempt (Updated)

The 1993 Nissan Pathfinder used in the Saturday-night Times Square car-bomb attempt was recently sold by its registered owner for $1,800 in cash via Craigslist, according to CNN. There was no paperwork involved in the transaction, which took place weeks ago at a Connecticut shopping mall. The owner apparently told the investigators that the person who bought the car from him “was either Hispanic or Middle Eastern,” and that he does not remember the buyer’s name, the Times reports.

While the police and FBI on the case have ruled out the owner of the Pathfinder as a suspect, there are two people they are looking to question in connection with the case. One is a man who was seen in video footage running north on Broadway when the fire broke out, and the other is a man with dark hair in a different video who removed his shirt and placed it in a bag before walking out of the view of the camera (“He may or may not have been involved in this incident,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “It was a hot day, maybe he was just changing his shirt”). NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly also emphasized that these two men are “not suspects”: “These are people we would like to speak to,” he said.

Meanwhile, there continues to be speculation over who was behind the attempt. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said investigators have some good leads, though he wouldn’t elaborate. Bloomberg told Katie Couric he thinks it could have been a domestic terrorist acting alone: “If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that. Homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something. It could be anything.” Kelly said it is too early to tell if this was the act of an individual or a larger network. Whoever it was, the White House used the T-word to describe the bomber: “I would say that was intended to terrorize, and I would say that whomever did that would be categorized as a terrorist,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Update No. 1: Federal authorities have now identified the man who bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder used in the bomb attempt and are seeking to arrest him, the Times is reporting. The man, a Connecticut resident who bought the SUV in Bridgeport within the past three weeks, is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan who recently returned from a trip there. Officials are not publicly revealing his identity. The Journal is reporting that police found forensic evidence in the SUV, a fingerprint on one of the propane tanks, that belongs to “a man of Middle Eastern origin.” However, while this individual has been identified by authorities as well, it is unclear if he is the same man who purchased the car.

Update No. 2: Connecticut resident Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, was taken into custody just after midnight Tuesday morning, NBC News is reporting, in connection with the bomb attempt. Shahzad is believed to be the individual who bought the Nissan Pathfinder that was driven into Times Square Saturday night with a bomb.

Update No. 3: Shahzad was arrested at a New York–area airport “apparently trying to flee,” according to one of the people briefed on the investigation, the Times says. Charges against him have not yet been announced.

Update No. 4: More details are emerging about Shahzad, reported to be 30 years old, and his arrest. NBC News says that Shahzad’s name was on an e-mail that was sent to the registered owner of the Pathfinder last month, which helped authorities to find Shahzad. “There is also independent evidence linking Faisal to the car itself, although the nature of that evidence was not disclosed,” according to the Atlantic. Shahzad was arrested at JFK airport, multiple sources have confirmed, and the Atlantic says he will be brought before a judge Tuesday morning.

Update No. 5: At a press conference early Tuesday morning, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that Faisal Shahzad had been arrested at JFK airport. Holder said Shahzad was trying to board a flight to Dubai. “It was clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans,” Holder said. Holder’s full statement can be read here.

Update No. 6:: Shazhad’s final destination was Pakistan, according to CNN. He was caught at the last second after his Emirates Airlines plane was returned to the gate. Supposedly, he’s claiming to have acted alone. Police are searching a house in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Hunt is on for missing Conn. man who bought car bomb Nissan just 2 weeks ago on Craigslist [NYDN]
SUV in Times Square bomb inquiry bought for cash [CNN]
S.U.V. in Bombing Attempt Was Sold in Cash Deal [NYT]

U.S. Citizen From Pakistan Arrested in Connection With Bomb Attempt (Updated)