Business as usual in Times Square as search for bomber continues
NEW YORK (AP) ” Times Square returned to business as usual Friday as police are investigating the explosion at a military recruiting center and looked at dozens of security videotapes, hoping to identify a bicycle-riding bomber.
Among the videos was one showing a cyclist peddling toward an area where a bicycle was found ditched in the trash, and another with someone walking away from the same spot, police said.
Investigators suspect the bike ” a 10-speed in good condition ” may have been used by the bomber just before dawn Thursday in the attack on a landmark military recruiting station that mirrored two previous small explosions at consulates in Manhattan.
“We’re in the process now of identifying those cameras, downloading them,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told CNN on Friday. “We’ve got a lot of cooperation from the businesses in the area, and we’re doing the normal investigative steps that you would expect in a case like this.”
Authorities said there was no connection between the blast and a letter sent to as many as 100 members of Congress bearing the words “Happy New Year, We Did It.”
Officials said the lengthy anti-war letters ” sent to congressional offices with photos of a man standing in front of the recruiting office before it was damaged ” contained no threats.
The bomb, contained in a metal ammunition box, produced a sudden flash and billowing cloud of white smoke, and prompted a full-scale emergency response. But no injuries or serious damage were reported.
At Times Square on Friday, there were tourists snapping pictures, pedestrians bustling about ” and a sense of firm resolve among the military people who were guarding the mangled recruiting station in the middle of a traffic island near the city’s famed Theater District.
“The barricades were up around the whole island and they were still asking about joining,” said Staff Sgt. Ruben Vila.
Jessica Lindsey, 30, of Pensacola, Fla., paused for pictures with friends in front of the recruiting station during their shopping expedition and birthday celebration.
“We were nervous about coming here and staying across the street,” but hotel workers assured them everything was fine, she said.
The blast bears a striking similarity to the two consulate explosions.
In October, two small explosive devices were tossed over a fence at the Mexican Consulate, shattering some windows. Police said they believed someone on a bicycle threw the devices.
At the time, police said they were investigating whether it was connected to a nearly identical bombing at the British consulate on May 5, 2005. No one was arrested in either attack.
Those bombings involved dummy hand grenades packed with black powder as an explosive, Kelly said. He said investigators were working to determine whether similar powder was used in the Times Square blast, but he noted that the explosive used Thursday was carried in an ammunition box, rather than a grenade.
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