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Luggage Thieves May Have Prevented Bombings in New York and Jersey

Separate incidents in New York and New Jersey reportedly saw wannabe thieves unwittingly help prevent bloodshed.
September 19, 2016, 6:00am
​ A NYPD bomb disposal robot handles an unexploded pressure cooker bomb on West 27th Street in New York City. Photo by Lucien Harriot/Getty Images

Some of the various bombs found in New York and New Jersey this weekend were stumbled upon by amateur thieves who may have helped prevent their detonation, DNAinfo reports.

Sources told the publication that on Saturday—when a bomb detonated in Chelsea, Manhattan, injured 29 people—well-dressed thieves happened on a suitcase around the corner, on West 27th Street. After they apparently opened up the suitcase to find a bomb inside attached to a cellphone, the men took the explosive out and dumped it in a trash bag before making off with the suitcase.

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Authorities believe the thieves inadvertently disabled the explosive when they moved it.

"Who in this world finds a pressure cooker with a phone and just takes the bag?" one law enforcement source joked to DNAInfo. Cops later found the disabled bomb and safely removed it from the area.

Meanwhile, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, late Sunday, a pair of homeless men found an abandoned backpack on top of a trash can. After opening it up, they reportedly discovered five pipe bombs and dropped the backpack in the middle of the street before notifying local police. A police robot ended up detonating one of those bombs upon investigation—and without any harm done—at about 12:30 AM Monday.

About ten hours later, authorities found suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami in Linden, New Jersey, and took him into custody after a chase and brief shootout.

Read: What We Know So Far About Bombing Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami