Times Square Evacuated: Car Bomb

Times Square was evacuated Saturday night after police noticed an incendiary device in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder parked close to the Broadway theater staging The Lion King.

At approximately 6:30 pm local time Saturday night, a tee shirt vendor alerted a mounted police officer that a parked car at 45th St appeared to be on fire. The bomb squad responded and found explosives included commercial grade fireworks, two 5-gallon containers of gasoline, three propane tanks and burned wires–all evidence of a failed bomb attempt.  Officers removed a metal box resembling a gun locker, taking it away to be examined at safe location.

The bomb is being called “crude” and “amateur” because it lacked sophisticated timing and detonation devices. But despite its simplicity, had it exploded the damage would have been substantial and significant. Saturdays are the busiest evening in the area. Police swiftly and calmly moved  hundreds of thousands of people out of the area  between 43rd to 47th streets along Broadway and Seventh Avenue; quickly metal railings blocked the streets and sidewalks to vehicles and pedestrians. Parts of 48th Street were also closed.

A Fire Department officer told Reuters that a man had been seen by witnesses fleeing the area. Times Square has numerous surveillance cameras but as of the time of the news briefing, approximately 2:30am Sunday, no surveillance video had been found showing that.

The car was seen driving by the NYPD cameras at 6:28pm. The car was left parked with engine running and hazards on at 45th and Broadway. The Connecticut license plates do not match the car and the car’s VIN number has been removed. The plates were originally on a truck sent to a junk yard.

The President and Mayor Bloomberg, both of whom were at the White House Correspondents Dinner were briefed; the mayor left quickly for the city after the President spoke, arriving to  deliver the press conference. The President directed federal agencies to aid in the investigation and commended the NYPD for their swift response.

Tourists were kept from their hotels, the south tower of the Marriot Marquis Hotel was evacuated, and some Broadway shows were canceled or delayed an hour or more, though “Fela!” at at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on West 49th Street–which Oprah Winfrey attended–was not disrupted, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ticket holders for canceled shows can get refunds.

The unexploded vehicle will yield a great deal of evidence, including fingerprints; and the propane tanks can be traced.

(from MSNBC and Fox News broadcasts as well as cited stories)

13 Responses to "Times Square Evacuated: Car Bomb"
wirerat1 | Sunday May 2, 2010 03:22 am 1

OMG! It must be Al Qaeda! Or evil militias. Based on the information in hand, it couldn’t just be some idiot who watched one too many television shows and assumed that by merely removing the VIN tag from the car and swapping the plates with one from a junkyard will make him a mastermind.

So tired of the fear mongering and the fact that isolated acts of morons are amplified into being “terror attacks”.

SanderO | Sunday May 2, 2010 03:27 am 2

Probably wasn’t even a bomb. Just useful to describe as such.

eCAHNomics | Sunday May 2, 2010 03:33 am 3

Or false flag?

mplo | Sunday May 2, 2010 05:24 am 4

Sounds rather wierd to me!

Phoenix Woman | Sunday May 2, 2010 06:53 am 5

If the alleged bomber was seen “fleeing” the area, as opposed to walking away calmly, that’s another sign that this was decidedly Amateur Hour. Calling attention to oneself that way isn’t particularly smart.

I suspect that many prints will be pulled from this vehicle.

razorbrain | Sunday May 2, 2010 07:02 am 6

Saw Bloomberg still using the “they hate our freedom” meme to explain the why of it. That was a stupid explanation in 2001, but now, after a decade of occupying two Muslim countries, it’s almost funny to say that “hating our freedom” could be the only rational explanation Muslim anger. Binladen wanted us do occupy, to imflame the Muslim world against us. We fell into the trap, and his strategy worked.

lakezoarian | Sunday May 2, 2010 07:49 am 7
In response to eCAHNomics @ 3

I wouldn’t be surprised at all… Especially considering some of the events in the city yesterday (like the Marijuana March.

Becca | Sunday May 2, 2010 09:01 am 8

An inept and amateurish attempt. Propane tanks and gasoline in an SUV. Crude, yet capable of causing great damage and mayhem had it been done right.

This has the whiff of ‘bagger-ishness.

The only detail missing was a hand-painted sign in the back with incoherent misspelled slogans.

fitley | Sunday May 2, 2010 11:17 am 9

A lot of the teascrotums or “the scroti” if you prefer, don’t spell very well so I imagine they must really have a hard time reading an electrical schematic. Maybe there were some crayons with fingerprints left at the crime scene.

LibWingofLibWing | Sunday May 2, 2010 03:06 pm 10

I don’t know if I’m becoming cynical or just becoming aware.

My first thought when I heard about this was that it was done by our own Government to gin up support for the Afghanistan War. Oh well.

Lisa Derrick | Sunday May 2, 2010 03:16 pm 11
In response to LibWingofLibWing @ 10

False flag? Lone nut? Militia? Foreign agents?

Or perhaps a way stimulate interest in more surveillance cameras a la London?

But now it seems pretty clear it was an attempt to blow stuff up. A fail bomb, but a bomb nonetheless. Had the tee shirt vendor (a Vietnam vet) not noticed the smoking Nissan and alerted the officer astride brave Migs (the police pony) then we would be reading a very different and very sad story today.

side note: The deployment of cops and the crowd management was so seamless that a friend of mine sent me a note saying

I was walking three blocks away and didn’t notice a thing

Had that car exploded, thousands of people would have noticed, and many would have died. The shrapnel from a car exploding, the secondary explosions…

wirerat1 | Monday May 3, 2010 03:40 am 12

Hate to say it, but such events are the price of an open society. I know the knee jerk response from society at large is going to be more cameras (like London) or biometric IDs with RFID readers everywhere so we can all be tracked like gerbils.

The sad truth is, as a country we do horrible things both at home and abroad in the name of perceived “good”, but are shocked and shaken when the fringe (wherever they be) react.

You want to stop this sort of teabagger/militia nonsense? Fix the economy. People are less likely to do stupid shit like this if they have a chicken in their pot and a roof over their head.

The corporate power that runs this country can only bleed the people so long before more reactionary elements start responding.

We’re fast on our way to 3rd world nation status. This will all be a pretense to taking more and more of our liberties, all in the name of security. No politician will stand up to it. Not even you Kucinich, Feingold or Sanders will stand up to it if you thought your votes would be the least bit the deciding factor. Corporate lapdogs.

wirerat1 | Monday May 3, 2010 03:47 am 13

Oh.. not that I expect a retort to the economic comments here, but please don’t cite the government reports about business growth in the past few quarters about how this is going to translate to jobs.

The only reason business continues to grow is because they’re squeezing their workers and because outsourcing continues. Hire more and more foreigners outside the country to do the job for pennies on the dollar and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that corporate growth will continue to rise although our consumer culture continues to be choked because there is no money domestically going to the people to perpetuate the economic cycle.

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