While the perpetrators of the spat of bombings that occurred over the weekend remain on the loose, experts say that the pressure-cooker bomb that blew up on West 23rd Street, a similar undetonated device found on West 27th Street, and the pipe bomb that exploded hours earlier at the Jersey Shore all used typical terrorist explosion methods. All three bombs were fitted with old-school, mobile flip phones as their triggering devices — and officials suspect the same person planted them. They are similar in design to those used in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon attacks, which were built according to instructions from al Qaeda’s online “Inspire” magazine.
More clues to the perpetrators have become public.
A 911 male caller issued a chilling threat moments after the Chelsea blast, “I’m looking at the explosion down the block. There will be more.”
Surveillance footage showed a man dragging a duffel bag with wheels near the site of the explosion on West 23rd street — around 40 minutes before the blast. Another video shows the same exact man placing the same duffel bag about 10 minutes later on West 27th street. Then two men remove a white garbage bag containing the pressure cooker and leave it on the sidewalk.
A handwritten letter, part of which is in Arabic, was found inside a plastic bag that had held the West 27th Street device.
Two witnesses in a local restaurant told cops they saw a man carrying a suitcase who seemed out of place on West 32nd Street about 30 minutes before the Chelsea blast.
In other developments:
Mayor de Blasio said a “bigger than ever” number of NYPD cops would hit the streets in response to the bombing. Gov. Cuomo said he was deploying an extra 1,000 state troopers and National Guard members across the state.
The unexploded Chelsea bomb was taken to the NYPD firing range at Rodman’s Neck in The Bronx, where it was blown up after cops couldn’t dismantle it late Sunday afternoon.
Passers-by in Chelsea described feeling under siege by the unsolved attack and threats of more to come.
“I’m terrified that I may be the next victim if it happens again around here,” said art student Kaz Cheng, 28.
Neighborhood resident Ben Brooks, 34, said, “People are freaked out. But in a city this large, it would be like finding a needle in haystack,” he said.