Speaking at a 2:15 a.m. press conference about the crude bomb found in an SUV in Times Square last night, Mayor Bloomberg said, "We are very lucky... Thanks to alert New Yorkers and professional police officers we avoided what could have been a very deadly event." Inside a Nissan Pathfinder parked on West 45th Street near 7th Avenue, police found "two gasoline cans, three propane tanks, electrical wires, black powder, consumer grade fireworks and two clocks." While the bob was called "amateurish," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "I think the intent was to cause a significant ball of fire."
Around 6:30 p.m., a t-shirt vendor noticed smoke coming from the SUV, which was parked "awkwardly," and alerted a mounted police officer. Officer Wayne Rhatigan told the Daily News, "I did a lap around the vehicle. The inside was smoking. I smelled gunpowder and knew it might blow. I thought it might blow any second," so he told two other cops and they started to evacuate the area as they waited for the bomb squad and FDNY. Police closed streets for the investigation, forcing some Broadway shows to be delayed and preventing people from attending them.
The bomb squad broke the windows of the SUV and robots also peered into SUV. The Post reports, cops found " a 'box within a box' in the car, a 2X2X4 black gun locker... Officials dismantled the first device and were in the process of rendering the second box safe this morning at the department’s firing range in the Bronx." Some popping noises that witnesses heard were the firecrackers; NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "It appeared it was in the process of detonating, but it malfunctioned." Police also searched the area for a secondary device. The car had Connecticut license plates that belong to a Ford; that person apparently had dropped the plates off at a junkyard.
According to the NY Times, police say that a video surveillance camera "recorded what was believed to be the dark green Nissan S.U.V. driving west on 45th Street" at 6.28 p.m., but Bloomberg said it "couldn’t detect who was in the vehicle, how many were in the vehicle and what was in the vehicle" (the SUV has tinted windows). Other surveillance cameras' footage will be reviewed.
The NYPD and feds are looking for a suspect; one police source told the Daily News, "The death toll could have been enormous. t was a nice day and the Times Square area was completely packed." Governor Paterson said, "Luckily, no one is hurt, and now the full attention of city, state and federal law enforcement will be turned to bringing the guilty party to justice in this act of terrorism."