NEW YORK — A photo was released Wednesday showing two men who allegedly found a pressure cooker bomb inside a suitcase in Chelsea during the same hour that a blast went off just blocks away.
Federal authorities want to speak to the men about what they discovered Saturday night along West 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. They also want to recover the luggage the pair took.
“They are witnesses. There are no criminal charges. They are not in jeopardy of being arrested,” NYPD counterterrorism bureau chief Jim Waters said.
Because of the significance of the missing suitcase, as evidence, investigators said on Wednesday that they need it back, and need more information from the two men who’d walked away with it.
The two unidentified men have been the subject of wide discussion, since their situation was first revealed by investigators on Monday. Virtually every comedy show in the country talked about their removal of a bomb, capable of causing widespread destruction and even death, from a suitcase left on the curb.
Many asked if it was an act of theft, or just a commonly accepted New York practice to take items left on the street with nobody laying claim to them.
Those are among the types of questions detectives and agents would like to ask the men in person. A photo of them together is now featured on an FBI poster and social media announcement.
The bureau has gone to great lengths to ensure that it’s not considered a wanted poster. Emblazoned in a red banner across the top are the words “Seeking Information.”
As Chief Waters made very clear, information is all that’s being sought. Along with the suitcase.
Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
Investigators hope they will have information that could help them piece together what happened Saturday night in the busy Manhattan neighborhood.
The bag was likely placed on the sidewalk about 8:30 p.m., about the same time an explosive device was detonated on West 23rd Street, injuring 29 people. Earlier Saturday, a bomb went off at a charity in Seaside Park, N.J. And late Sunday, another explosive was detonated in Elizabeth, N.J.
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was arrested Monday morning in connection with the blasts in Chelsea and Seaside Park.
The subject of a manhunt that spurred an emergency alert sent to cellphones in the New York area, Rahami was found sleeping in the hallway of a bar in Linden, N.J. The business’ owner discovered Rahami and, thinking he was a vagrant, called police.
When officers arrived, they recognized the sleeping man as Rahami and a shootout ensued. The suspect was struck multiple times and three officers were hurt.
Rahami remained in the hospital Monday and has not been medically cleared to speak with police, Waters said.
Federal charges were filed Tuesday against Rahami. They are use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing, destruction of property and use of a destructive device. He also has been charged with attempted murder of law enforcement in Linden.
All the officers injured in the suspect’s takedown have returned home.