Times Square suspect arrested

A suspect has been taken into custody in the Times Square bombing attempt, a law enforcement official has told The Associated Press.

No suspects ruled out in failed bombing: Napolitano

A surveillance photo captured the bomb-carrying Nissan Pathfinder, right, in Times Square in New York City. ((Reuters))
A suspect in last weekend's failed car bomb attack on Times Square was taken into custody late Monday while trying to leave the country, a law enforcement official has told The Associated Press.

The suspect, a Pakistani, was identified at midnight Monday at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was stopped, said the official, who spoke to the AP early Tuesday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

The suspect, who has not been named, is being held in New York.

Law enforcement officials say the suspect recently returned from a trip to Pakistan and bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder used in the failed car bomb three weeks ago and paid cash. The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The SUV was parked on a street lined with Broadway theatres and restaurants and full of people out on a Saturday night. It was captured on video crossing an intersection at 6:28 p.m. Saturday. A street vendor pointed out the Pathfinder to an officer about two minutes later.

Times Square, clogged with tourists on a warm evening, was shut down for 10 hours. No one was hurt.

Chain of blasts

Earlier Monday, police said the failed car bomb was more complex than initially thought. The car was rigged to create a chain of blasts, one explosion after another.

"Looks like it would have caused a significant fireball," Kelly said.

Investigators found three propane tanks, fireworks, two full 19-litre gasoline containers and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and other components in the vehicle.

Wires connected two alarm clocks to a container filled with the fireworks, which was wedged between the two cans of gasoline, Kelly said.

"That would cause the five-gallon cans to go on fire, then explode the propane tanks," Kelly said, noting that investigators also found an unidentified substance that had the "look and feel" of fertilizer.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne confirmed Monday that investigators had spoken to the SUV's registered owner. The vehicle identification number had been removed from Pathfinder's dashboard, but it was stamped on the engine and axle, and investigators used it to find the owner of record.

"The discovery of the VIN on the engine block was pivotal in that it led to the identifying the registered owner," Browne said. "It continues to pay dividends."

Investigators tracked the licence plates to a used auto parts shop in Stratford, Conn., where they discovered the plates were connected with a different vehicle.

They also spoke to the owner of an auto sales shop in nearby Bridgeport because a sticker on the Pathfinder indicated the SUV had been sold by his dealership. Owner Tom Manis said there was no match between the vehicle identification number the officers showed him and any vehicle he had sold.

Taliban link discounted

Earlier, the Pakistani Taliban appeared to claim responsibility in three videos that surfaced after the weekend scare, monitoring groups said.

Officials said police have no evidence to support the claims, noting that the same group had falsely taken responsibility for previous attacks in the U.S.

But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano cautioned against making "premature decisions," telling the Today show Monday that "every lead has to be pursued."

With files from The Associated Press