Mayor promises more CCTV after failed bombing

Sketchy evidence sees New York police visit tourists in Pennsylvania for footage of suspect

The mayor of New York has promised additional surveillance cameras around Times Square and throughout the tourist heart of the city, as police struggled to come up with footage that would help their investigation into the failed bomb attack.

Investigators travelled to Pennsylvania yesterday to get footage from a tourist who claimed to have filmed a suspicious person at the time of the car bomb, while in the city local businesses were being asked to hand over private security camera footage that may hold clues.

The mayor, Michael Bloomberg, promised scores more police cameras to add to the 82 that police currently have installed in the midtown area of the city, but which failed to capture the significant moments of the incident.

An SUV packed with propane tanks, petrol and fireworks was left a few blocks north of Times Square on Saturday evening, a time when the area was thronging with tourists headed for pre-theatre dinner. While the homemade bomb began smoking, it did not detonate, and police were able to evacuate the area and carry out a controlled explosion.

Yesterday, they released CCTV footage of a man seen a short distance from the car, who is shown taking off a shirt and stuffing it into a bag, and glancing over his shoulder in the direction of the car.

The white male, in his forties, is the nearest that surveillance cameras have been able to come to identifying a possible suspect, but Mr Bloomberg cautioned that there were other leads being pursued.

"There are millions of people who come through Times Square," he said. "This person happened to be in a position in which a camera got a good shot of him, and maybe he had something to do with it, but there's a very good chance that he did not."

The authorities have been sceptical of claims from a Pakistani Taliban group which claimed responsibility on Sunday.

Had the bomb gone off, officials said, it would have split the SUV in two and sent shrapnel flying, causing significant casualties.

The car's journey into Times Square was caught on camera for only a few seconds. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York in 2001, the city installed thousands of surveillance cameras in Lower Manhattan, and the so-called "ring of steel" will also be extended into the midtown area that includes Times Square, following a federal grant. It is that work that the mayor referred to yesterday as being of top priority.

The ring of steel also includes licence plate readers and chemical weapons detectors, and has attracted the ire of civil liberties groups, who are fighting in the courts to get more information on the project.

Police have interviewed the owner of the SUV, who is not being trated as a suspect. Sources in New York and Washington said the registered owner of the Nissan Pathfinder sold the car about three weeks ago to a buyer he described as being 29 to 30 years old and of Hispanic or Middle Eastern appearance. Police have also been contacting local businesses to ask for video surveillance footage. The car was being driven with fake number plates, using plates from a car undergoing repairs in Connecticut. Its owner was traced using the vehicle identification number.

Eric Holder, the US attorney general, said it was too early to designate the incident as a terrorist attack, or to speculate whether it had foreign or domestic origins.

Janet Napolitano, the secretary of Homeland Security, told NBC's Today show that no suspects had been ruled out. "Every lead has to be pursued," she said. "I caution against premature decisions one way or another."

The SUV was filmed crossing an intersection near Times Square at 6.28pm on Saturday. Two minutes later, it was erratically parked and a local T-shirt vendor pointed it out to a police officer.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

£30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

Digital Content Manager,Leicester

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Charter Selection: Leading Nationwide and important...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor