WASHINGTON — The FBI appealed for the public's help Wednesday in locating two unidentified men who removed an explosive device from a piece of luggage planted just a few blocks from where a separate bomb detonated Saturday night in New York, injuring 31 people.
The two men, pictured casually walking near the West 27th Street location where authorities later recovered an unexploded pressure-cooker explosive, left the device and were seen walking away with the luggage, the FBI said in an appeal posted on its website.
"Closed circuit television recordings indicate that these individuals allegedly located a piece of luggage on the sidewalk, removed an improvised explosive device from the luggage, and then left the vicinity leaving the device behind but taking the luggage,'' the FBI said, adding investigators were seeking to question the men and recover the luggage.
A federal law enforcement official told USA TODAY there was no immediate indication that the two men had any involvement in the terror plot. The official, who has knowledge of the investigation, was not authorized to comment publicly.
The appeal comes a day after federal authorities charged Ahmad Rahami, the lone suspect in the weekend bombing campaign in New York and New Jersey, with four federal terror-related counts, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction. The charges were lodged in both New York and New Jersey federal courts.
The charges assert the 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan, intended to “cause death and serious bodily injury’’ when he planted devices at four locations across New Jersey and New York, including the two in Manhattan.
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