Authorities are still trying to track down the two men who took a suitcase and left behind the pressure-cooker explosive on West 27th Street in Chelsea, allegedly planted by Ahmad Rahami. Officials believe the two men might have unintentionally deactivated the device when they took it out of the bag, possibly by jostling the flip-phone detonator. Another similar device blew up on West 23rd Street, injuring 31.
Investigators now believe the two men were foreign tourists from Egypt who left New York City after the attacks, which might be why no one has come forward or identified them, sources told the New York Times. The FBI released a new photo and poster Tuesday, though it’s since been removed (a press representative with the FBI’s New York field office declined to comment as to why). It’s unclear if the suitcase in that photo is potentially the suitcase, though DNAinfo reported it as “tan and floral patterned luggage.”
Officials don’t believe these men are linked to bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami or the attacks he staged, but they want to interview them as witnesses and recover their strange choice of a New York souvenir as evidence. Officials have reportedly submitted a request to the Egyptian government to question the men. “You can see them inspecting the bag,” a source told DNAinfo, referring to the surveillance video. “Turning it around and talking about it as though they are saying it is not bad, and looks pretty good, and walk off with it.”
Two New Jersey men rooting through a trash can also found a backpack filled with IEDs near a train station in Elizabeth — though this one they brought to the police. Authorities found Rahami’s fingerprints on this stash, which tied him to the Chelsea blast, where his prints were also detected on the unexploded bomb. The two guys who found the bag — 56-year-old Ivan White and 50-year-old Lee Parker — have been hailed as heroes. Organizations and individuals have helped raise more than $30,000 for them, and Parker, who was homeless, has been set up with a hotel room until a nonprofit group can find him more permanent housing. White has a residence, but he told the New Jersey Advance he’d like a key to the city. Both he and Parker got them on Tuesday.
This post has been updated with additional information about the men.