WATCH: Faisal Shahzad at the Fireworks Store

Accused car bomber caught on tape buying fireworks; bomb used fireworks.

May 01, 2010, 9:51 PM

May 7, 2010 — -- Newly released surveillance video shows Faisal Shahzad, now in federal custody on charges of trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, buying fireworks at the Phantom Fireworks showroom in Matamoras, Penn.

Bruce Zoldan, president of the company that owns the fireworks store, told ABC News that there are 16 cameras in the store that show Shahzad coming in, walking around and standing at the cash register buying fireworks on March 8. The bomb found inside a Nissan Pathfinder on W. 45th St. in New York City was constructed of propane, fertilizer and M88 fireworks, among other ingredients.

Zoldan said that Shahzad did not appear "jittery or nervous" buying the fireworks, but acted like "a regular customer."

"There was nothing noticeable, remarkable or unusual about [Shahzad]," said Zoldan. Though he did asks some questions of the cashier and the assistant manager, "Nothing stood out that would give a hint of what he was trying to use the product for."

Shahzad spent less than $100 on six to eight boxes of Silver Salute M88s and several other items, including two tubular fireworks that include a projectile that gives off a floral burst in the air. He also bought a couple of smaller devices.

Each box of M88s held 36 fireworks Zoldan guesses Shahzad bought the M88s thinking they were more powerful than they really are, and used the other items so as not to draw attention.

M88s are 98 percent paper, said Zoldan, and do not mass-detonate. "They're not for kids, but they're not for professional display," he said. "They're for backyard home displays. The potential for injury is very low. They're for cosmetic, not destructive, purposes."

Had Shahzad somehow gotten hold of professional fireworks, Zoldan said, or had be bought more powerful fireworks readily available on the black market, "The outcome in New York would have been, unfortunately, catastrophic."

Zoldan and his company VP, Bill Weimer, a former FBI agent, figured there was a probability the fireworks came from one of their stores given their location and volume of sales and contacted authorities offering assistance. A store manager at the Matamoras location found Shahzad's name in sales records.

Customers buying fireworks in Pennsylvania must show proof of age and proof of out-of-state residence, since Pennsylvanians are prohibited by law from purchasing many fireworks. The store is close to Interstate 84 near the junction of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, about a two-hour drive from where Shahzad was living in Connecticut.

Zoldan said his company was happy to help and has been flooded by media calls. It never hurts to be in the press, he said, "although we don't really want to be known as the official firecracker of the Taliban."

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