The Chelsea woman who found an unexploded bomb outside her home on West 27th Street on Saturday night says she wasn't alarmed by the discovery, because the device looked so amateurishly benign. Jane Schreibman, a travel photographer, said she had heard the explosion on West 23rd Street, but initially assumed it was thunder. After a friend called to tell her about the blast, which injured dozens of people, she went outside to look around and noticed "a pot on the side of the road" near her home.
BREAKING PHOTO! Here is the second device found by a NYSP Sgt. At 27 street and 7 Ave. investigation is ongoing pic.twitter.com/x7o9Rr30I3
— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) September 18, 2016
Schreibman tells the NY Post, "It looked weird, and I thought it was a kid’s science experiment, with wires coming out of the pressure cooker every which way. I thought someone was throwing it out. It had duct tape, and wires going into the cell phone or remote of some sort. But I couldn’t tell because it was all wrapped up in tape. The remote pointed into a white plastic bag."
She called to report the device, and was standing near it when the NYPD bomb squad arrived. "A man, I guess he was a detective, saw me, and he shouted ‘RUN!" Schreibman tells the Post. She then retired to a friend's house to play Scrabble, but couldn't stop worrying about her cat Oceaie, who frequently sits at the window facing the street. Police wouldn't let her back into her home until 3 a.m., when a detective finally escorted her back to collect the cat. "I can’t believe it was really a bomb," Schreibman added.
But it was a bomb, and sources tell Fox 5 that the cell phone connected to the device has been linked to 28-year-old person of interest Ahmad Khan Rahami. The NYPD removed the device using a “total containment vessel," a spherical device which is capable of containing a blast of 25 pounds of TNT or more. The Times has more:
The total containment vessel is essentially an inside-out diving vessel, Lt. Mark Torre, the commanding officer of the department’s bomb squad, said in an interview in July. “Instead of keeping the pressure out and keeping you alive in five fathoms of water, it keeps the pressure in,” he explained. Should a bomb explode inside, tiny vents allow pressure to escape. “It sounds like a hammer hitting a piece of steel,” he said.
After inspecting the device and safely moving it inside the total containment vessel, the NYPD transported the bomb to a facility in the Bronx, where they disabled it with a small explosion. It was then sent to an FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia for further analysis.
Police are conducting a manhunt for Rahami, who is also wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion at a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey on Saturday morning. No injuries resulted from that explosion.
CNN reports that security camera footage from Chelsea is instrumental to the investigation:
Surveillance video shows a man dragging what appears to be a duffel bag with wheels near the site of the West 23rd street explosion about 40 minutes before the blast, according to multiple local and federal law enforcement sources.
About 10 minutes later, surveillance video shows the same man with what appears to be the same duffel bag on West 27th street, multiple law enforcement sources said.
In the video, the man leaves the duffel bag where police later found the unexploded pressure cooker. After he leaves, the video shows two men removing a white garbage bag believed to contain the pressure cooker from the duffel bag and leave it on the sidewalk, according to a senior law enforcement official and another source familiar with the video.
Investigators have not determined if those two men are connected to the man with the duffel bag on both streets, the sources said.
Police have released more photos of Rahami as the manhunt continues:
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) September 19, 2016