In two separate cases, thieves snatching bags from city streets and train stations inadvertently helped law enforcement get the upper hand in an ongoing bomb spree that’s hurt dozens of people and spans both sides of the Hudson River, sources said.
The day Ahmad Khan Rahami allegedly planted two bombs in Chelsea — one of which detonated on West 23rd Street — two thieves accidentally helped to disable his second pressure cooker bomb left inside a rolling suitcase on West 27th Street, sources said.
The young men, who sources described as being well-dressed, opened the bag and took the bomb out, sources said, before placing the explosive into a garbage bag and walking away with the rolling suitcase.
In doing so, investigators believe they inadvertently disabled the explosive, sources said. That allowed investigators to examine the cellphone attached to the bomb intact and discover that it was connected to the family of Rahami.
From there, they were able to identify pictures on social media of Rahami’s family and of him, and they matched one of his photos to surveillance footage captured in Manhattan.