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Update: Times Square bomb suspect arrested ‘at last second’

 Update: Times Square bomb suspect arrested at last second

A man identified as a US citizen of Pakistani origin was arrested in connection with an attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square, news media reported Tuesday.

According to CNN, the suspect was arrested at the “last second.”

“Shahzad was on board Emirates Airlines Flight 202 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the jetway had been pulled back when the plane was called to return to the gate, a law enforcement source said. Shahzad was booked through to Islamabad, Pakistan, via Dubai, a senior airline official” told the network.

“They just caught him at the last second,” a law enforcement source purportedly remarked.

A report at NBC News, with contributions by the Associated Press notes, “A US citizen, Shahzad Faisal, 30, was apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol agents at the Queens international airport around midnight while trying to board a plane to Pakistan, presumably to escape the manhunt that has been on since Saturday night, law enforcement sources said.”

Late Monday, New York police and FBI agents had narrowed their focus on Faisal, who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan and three weeks ago bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder used in the failed car bomb on Saturday night.

Investigators say Faisal’s name was on an email that was sent to the seller of the SUV last month after they connected on Craigslist, but officials cannot definitively say whether he used his own email or whether someone else sent it from his account.

The New York Post reported that the SUV was sold via online ads at Craiglist and other auto internet sites by a nineteen year old Connecticut college student.

She sold the SUV to the man — now being sought as the attack’s main suspect — on April 28 for $1,300. He reportedly paid her in $100 bills.

Later that day, Colas posted a message on her Facebook page that read, “I’m soooo happy I got a new car :) .

But by late Sunday, she was clearly upset, posting: “OMG! I HAD A CRAZY DAY … IT’S OFFICIAL. I HAVE BAD LUCK. SMH I HOPE THEY FIND THAT BASTARD.”

CBS News, without naming Colas, reported that she told investigators the buyer was Middle Eastern or Hispanic.

However, reports at the Washington Post and CBS News on Monday that quoted sources who spoke to the seller both used masculine pronouns in the accounts.

RAW STORY can confirm that Ms. Coles was the seller, according to copies of the ad that can still be found on the internet, some of which contain her first name, email address and phone number.

The NY Times reports,

Mr. Shahzad was taken into custody at Kennedy Airport, apparently trying to flee, one of the people said. Charges against Mr. Shahzad, who had returned recently from a trip to Pakistan, were not announced.

The authorities began focusing on him after they tracked the vehicle to its previously registered owner in Bridgeport, Conn., who had advertised it for sale on several Web sites. He paid cash, and the sale was handled without any formal paperwork.

The former owner told investigators that it appeared the buyer was of Middle Eastern or Hispanic descent, but could not recall his name. It was unclear how agents from the Joint Terrorist Task Force identified him. Federal authorities provided few details on Monday night about the arrest, the suspect or the scope of any conspiracy in the failed attack.

An AP report published after the NBC News/AP article adds fresh details,

The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was identified by customs agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was stopped before boarding an Emirates airlines flight to Dubai, according to officials who spoke to The Associated Press early Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation. He had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan, where he had a wife.

He was being held in New York and couldn’t be contacted. He has a Shelton, Conn., address; a phone number listed there wasn’t in service.

The latest AP report still refers to the seller as a male: “Law enforcement officials say Shahzad bought the SUV, a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder, from a Connecticut man about three weeks ago and paid cash. The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.”

A Connecticut newspaper published an article quoting a man named Faisal Shazad in 2009, who may or may not be the same suspect now held in custody:

It’s now a common refrain at Checkers Food Stores on North Colony Street in Wallingford. “Everybody is so mad, and say, ‘This is my last pack,’ ” manager Faisal Shahzad said. “Then they come back and complain about the government.”

Brand loyalty has become a thing of the past, as smokers got stung with a $1.80 price increase in the past three weeks, retailers said. Smokers are looking for bargains, such as lower-priced generics that have reached $5.50 per pack, and more smokers are rolling their own.

US Attorney Eric Holder released the following statement:

####

Earlier this evening, Faisal Shahzad was arrested in connection with the attempted car bombing in New York on Saturday. Mr. Shahzad, an American citizen, was taken into custody at JFK Airport in New York as he attempted to board a flight to Dubai.

Since this plot was first uncovered on Saturday night, the FBI, prosecutors and intelligence lawyers in the National Security Division of the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys Offices in Manhattan and Connecticut, along with the NYPD have worked night and day to find out who was responsible for what would have been a deadly attack had it been successful. Over the course of the day today, we have gathered significant additional evidence that led to tonight’s arrest, which was made by agents from Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection.

This investigation is ongoing, as are our attempts to gather useful intelligence, and we continue to pursue a number of leads. But it’s clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans.

####

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