The FBI is renewing its effort to find suspects in the 2008 bombing of the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square, releasing video and a photo of the “military-style ammunition can” that housed the explosive device.
And whereas officials originally spread the theory that the attacker was a lone wolf disgruntled with the world, the FBI now says the ammunition can used in the attack is “commonly found on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan” and the bomber may have had spotters helping.
The bombing is also being described as potentially connected to similar attacks at the British Consulate in New York May 2005 and the other at the Mexican Consulate in October 2007.
A reward of up to $65,000 for information leading to an arrest was also announced. The FBI is also launching the Twitter hashtag #BikeBomber and screening the photos in Times Square to try to get tips.
In the early morning hours on March 6, 2008, the suspect rode a blue Ross bicycle near the recruiting station at West 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue, placed the explosive device at the recruiting station, lit a fuse, and fled the scene on the bicycle.
“Although the suspect appears to be working alone, he or she may have had a lookout or surveillance team of as many as five other individuals in Times Square at the time of the attack,” the FBI said. “The suspect then rode his or her bike south on Broadway before turning left on 38th Street. The bike was later recovered in a dumpster near Madison Avenue and 38th Street.”
The device was “filled halfway with black powder and detonated using a time fuse.”
“Although no one was wounded, the device could have caused significant casualties if people had been close to the blast,” the FBI added.
“While published reports have repeatedly cited the early morning time of the attack and the lack of casualties, the fact is the bomber narrowly missed killing or injuring passers-by who can be seen clearly in the vicinity moments before the blast,” said New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly. “The distance between polemics by bombing and the murdering of innocents is short, indeed.”
The suspect on the bicycle was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt and pants of an unknown color. The height, weight, age, sex, and race of the suspect are unknown, the FBI said.