Federal authorities announced today a new push to track down the man or woman who used a bicycle for their getaway when they tried to blow up a military recruiting station in New York's Times Square five years ago, fearing the suspect may be a serial bike bomber.
"Someone, somewhere, knows something about a bomber who's still on the run," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos.
The FBI said they believe the March 6, 2008 blast at the Armed Forces Career Center is likely linked to two earlier blasts at the consulates of foreign nations in New York -- the U.K.'s in 2005 and Mexico's in 2007. The bureau also announced a reward of $65,000 for information on the case, the first time there has been a reward associated with the case.
The device in Times Square was made from an ammunition can and described at the time as unsophisticated. The FBI now believes it was more powerful than the pair of bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring more than 260 others. In the case of the bicycle bomber, the Times Square bomb exploded at 3:45 a.m. when few people were around. The blast caused minor damage to the landmark military recruiting station.
"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 Raymond W. Kelly. "The distance between polemics by bombing and the murdering of innocents is short, indeed."
Ten minutes of newly-released surveillance images show the bomb detonating in Times Square and the bike bomber riding through the streets of New York.
"Today we're asking for the public's assistance in finding those responsible and encouraging the public to look closely at these photos and video, which could be the key to breaking the case," Venizelos said.
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.
Anyone with information on any of the three bombings is encouraged to call the FBI at 212-384-1000. Tipsters may remain anonymous. The FBI and the NYPD will be using the hash tag #BikeBomber to disseminate information about the attacks and to solicit information. The photos and video are also being displayed on digital billboards throughout the northeast, including in Times Square.