Times Square bomb plot: 'CSI' methods could crack the case
Video cameras, fingerprints, and chemical clues could all come into play as authorities try to identify who drove an explosives-laden vehicle into Times Square. The bomb plot left behind plenty of evidence.
The failed attempt to set off a bomb in Times Square on Saturday night is a case made for “CSI."Skip to next paragraph
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To begin, scores of video cameras keep watch over every inch of the tourist destination. The sport utility vehicle in question, loaded with flammable material, is intact, possibly containing fingerprints or DNA-revealing drops of sweat. And with the help of possible video evidence or credit-card information, many ingredients in the failed bomb can be traced back to where they were bought or obtained.
Given the amount of evidence, many law-enforcement officials believe it is only a matter of time until authorities announce an arrest in the Times Square bomb plot.
“There should be enough physical evidence indicating the identification of the individual who drove the vehicle, and the chances he will be brought to justice are very good,” says Danny Defenbaugh, who worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 33 years and now has his own security consulting firm in Dallas. “One of the biggest issues in the investigative focus and direction is forensics.”
The New York City Police Department said it will send material from the vehicle to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va. “They’ve got the top laboratory in the world to do these sorts of examinations, and we’ll keep some samples here,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told WCBS radio in an interview Monday morning.
When it comes to fingerprints and DNA traces, police and FBI will be looking for places where the individual might have had contact – such as door handles, turn signals, and radio knobs, says Joseph King, a professor of terrorism at John Jay College in New York and a former federal agent with 36 years of experience.
“They will look to see where he scraped the vehicle identification number off to see if there is DNA or fingerprints,” Professor King says. “They will check at the gas tank. They will analyze the license plates [which were stolen] and look at the screws to see if there are fingerprints on them.”
Then, the purported explosives may contain chemical clues. The propane tanks had to be filled somewhere or purchased at a store that might have some kind of video security.