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ABC Sources: 5 People In Custody In Connection With NY Bombing

7 years 2 months 1 week ago Sunday, September 18 2016 Sep 18, 2016 September 18, 2016 10:18 PM September 18, 2016 in News
Source: ABC News
By: ABC News

NEW YORK - Five people were taken into custody Sunday night in connection with Saturday's explosion in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, following a traffic stop conducted by the FBI and NYPD on the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge, which connects the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, sources tell ABC News.

As ABC News previously reported, multiple law enforcement officials tell ABC News that investigators are exploring the possibility the two explosions in New York and New Jersey are linked to the same bomber or bombers by what appear to be similar types of cell phones.

And on Sunday night, multiple law enforcement officials also told ABC News that police would like to talk to a male seen on surveillance images recovered from both 23rd Street in Manhattan, where the explosion occurred, and a few blocks uptown on 27th Street, where a secondary device was found. Police have not identified the man, as they are seeking to figure out who he is since he appears in videos from both locations. He also has not been characterized as a person of interest. It is also unknown if that male is related in anyway to those taken into custody Sunday night.

The explosive device in New Jersey and the one that caused the blast in New York City were both set off with cell phones, according to two law enforcement officials who have been briefed on the case. The other, possible explosive device found near the blast site in New York City also had a cell phone connected to it.

Authorities cautioned that this is only a line of inquiry and not a conclusion. The probes remain "separate investigations," the FBI and officials in New York said.

“Just because you have one thing in common, doesn’t mean the devices are similar,” one official told ABC News.

In fact, the explosive devices looked very different: the one used in New Jersey was pipe bombs and the one in New York was not.

The video below was posted by Terri Restaurant, located at West 23rd Street, 176 yards east of where the explosion took place. A loud boom is heard.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference Saturday that there was at that point no specific evidence linking the Saturday night blast in the city's Chelsea neighborhood to the explosion earlier in the day in Seaside Park, New Jersey, at the site of a planned 5K charity run for military service members. But, he said, the possibility of a connection "will continue to be considered ... [We] are not taking any options off the table."

"We know there was a bombing," in the city last night, the mayor said. "We will be very careful and patient to get to the full truth here.

"Was it a political motivation, a personal motivation? What was it? We do not know that yet," de Blasio said

The New York City explosion, which injured at least 29 people, occurred on West 23rd Street around 8:30 p.m. in an area frequented by shoppers and diners. All of those injured have been released from hospitals, de Blasio said.

In the block-by-block search after the New York blast, two former state troopers found a possible secondary device a few blocks away on 27th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, said James O'Neill, the city's police commissioner. The second device, a pressure cooker, was in a white plastic bag with tape, wiring and a cell phone or other electronic device.

That second device was sent to the NYPD's bomb squad facility in the Bronx, and on Sunday around 7:45 p.m., the NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald tweeted, "NYPD and FBI Bomb Technicians rendered the device safe. A forensic examination of the device and its components will be conducted at the FBI Laboratory at Quantico, Virginia."

"We have two separate crime scenes," O'Neill said, adding that the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are involved in the investigation.

O'Neill said officers have recovered video from both scenes and are continuing to canvas for witnesses and additional video.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier today that the explosion, which injured at least 29 people, was not likely an international act of terrorism.

Cuomo said evidence has been sent to FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, for examination.

The governor added that while no international group had claimed responsibility for planting the explosive device, any bomb exploding in New York was terrorism "generically."

Surveillance video from the site of the blast on West 23rd Street shows the explosion and indicates to investigators that an object containing the explosive device was intentionally left next to a construction trash container.

In one video obtained by police, a man is seen crossing the street in the vicinity of where the explosive device appears to have been left. The trash container was blown clear into the street by the force of the blast.

The New Jersey blast took place in Seaside Park on Saturday morning along the route of a planned 5K charity race to benefit U.S. Marines and sailors. Because of delays to the start of the run, the explosion occurred in an area without many people in it.

The race was cancelled after the explosion.

The New York City explosion startled residents, and could be heard and felt blocks away.

Chelsea resident Michelle Leifer was walking her dog in Madison Square Park when she "heard a loud boom and felt rumbling," she tld ABC News. "I wasn't sure if it was an explosion or if a large truck had gone by. One of the park's maintenance men came in and said he got an alert on his phone that there was an explosion on 23rd and 6th. As I was leaving the park, I saw a smoke cloud hovering in that area. Then police cars and firetrucks started streaming in."

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