GLAMCHOPS: Rookie car bomber

By Elissa Stolman

On May 1, a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder failed to explode as planned in New York City’s Times Square in an attempted terrorist car bombing. Officials found forensic evidence from the suspect inside the car, as well as a complicated mess of gasoline, propane, firecrackers, alarm clocks, a metal gun locker, and eight giant, stinking bags of non-explosive fertilizer.Law enforcement pored over footage taken by civilian and security cameras in Times Square, which at first led them to believe a dude in his forties was involved in the attempted bombing because he walked away from the general direction of the car while engaging in such suspicious actions as looking over his shoulder, taking off his jacket, and wearing a red shirt. The woman who was caught on-camera picking her nose only barely escaped questioning.

After a few days of investigation, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American currently living in Connecticut was arrested after trying to board a plane to Dubai. He admitted that, during a summer trip to Pakistan, he had been (poorly) trained by the Pakistani Taliban in bomb-making. According to Kevin Barry, a retired member of the New York Police Department bomb squad, Shahzad had been trained, “but he certainly didn’t graduate at the top of his class.” That much is evident: Shahzad used his real name to buy all the materials for his attack, was caught on tape leaving the scene after the bomb failed to explode and buying fireworks that “wouldn’t damage a watermelon” in Pennsylvania, and he left 20 keys in the Pathfinder, including those to his getaway car. Who has 20 keys anyway? He probably left the keys to his home, office, and his freaking heart for God’s sake.

After the investigation is completed, the Pathfinder will be back on the market, only it will have this little incident noted on its CarFax vehicle history report.

Written by Elissa Stolman. This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue.