A New York City man desperate to win back an old flame planted homemade explosives around a neighborhood in the city’s Staten Island borough, apparently trying to frame the 34-year-old woman’s new husband, officials said.
Omar Duran, 54, planted three bomb packages in three different places, on three different occasions starting Sept. 2, according to the New York Police Department. All three packages allegedly included the same name and address of a male neighbor in an effort to break up his marriage.
Duran is charged with placing a false bomb, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.
He pleaded not guilty when arraigned Thursday.
Through the investigation, officials found that Duran became obsessed and overly protective of the 34-year-old woman, now known to be his ex-girlfriend, according to NYPD Lt. Paul Ng.
Throughout the month of September, Duran planted crude bombs carried in laptop bags and book bags in a parking lot and the front step of a neighbor’s house, police said.
The last incident was reported by the New York City Sanitation Department on Sept. 14, when sanitation workers picked up the bag and “noticed it was suspicious in nature with wires sticking out of it,” said NYPD Det. Michael DeBonis.
The bombs, though packed with several combustible materials such as shrapnel and propane, were incapable of exploding if detonated, officials said.
But the very idea was enough to unnerve area residents, ABC News station WABC reported.
“You just never think it’s your next-door neighbor,” said a resident, Ray Magnuski. “It’s insane. It’s a very, very close-knit, very tight community.”
Duran’s bail was set at $500,000 bond or $350,000 cash. He was due back in court on Sept. 24 and faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count, which is criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree, a class B felony, said Douglas Auer of the District Attorney’s Office in Richmond County.
Duran could not be reached for comment and his lawyer could not be reached by phone.