Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'll have the tall explosion please

By all accounts then it was a Tall explosion as a larger one would have been a Grande or even a Venti explosion.

No, I know it isn't funny.

NYPD investigates IED explosion

New York (CBS)- It was loud and terrifying for some residents on the Upper East Side early Monday morning.

An explosion rocked a Starbucks on 92nd Street and Third Avenue.

Now, investigators are wondering if it was the work of teenagers or the latest in a string of high-profile bombings.

It happened before 3:30 Monday morning outside the Starbucks. Somebody put some kind of small pipe bomb-type device under a bench on the street that blew out windows at the store, but did not cause any injuries. Still, the sound startled more than a few people.

"It was a really, really loud bang and it shook all the windows. Never occurred to me it could be a bomb. I thought it was a methane gas explosion. This is crazy," neighbor Emily Battles said.

But before it went off, Esam Hage told detectives he was looking out the window. He lives above the Starbucks. He said he saw two teenagers running, and then, he said he heard the bang.

"I saw them approaching the area. They were the only ones around. It's not like there were a lot of people or anything. And then a few seconds later I heard the explosion. Then I looked back out of the window and I saw them running out, running across away from Starbucks," Hage said.

Governor David Paterson described the device.

"There was an explosion improvised explosive device tied with black tape around a sort of foil. It was not a high-impact explosion. It blew out two of the windows, put a burn on the side of building, destroyed the bench on the side of the building that it was on," Paterson said.

Crime scene investigators found shards of plastic that was taken to the lab.

The first thing police thought of, of course, was three recent bombings over a three-year period.

"They all happened between 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "That's the immediate similarity that we're looking at."

On May 5, 2005, someone on a bike threw an old grenade filled with black powder that exploded outside the British consulate on the East Side. On Oct. 26, 2007, someone threw a similar homemade bomb that went off outside the Mexican consulate. And on March 8, 2008, someone on a bike -- again, before 4am -- set off a crude bomb outside the armed forces recruiting station in Times Square. That person was picked up on surveillance cameras and the bike was found about eight blocks away.

If this was some sort of political statement you may be wondering why Starbucks? Well, many years ago those groups opposed to global capitalization singled out Starbucks as, they say, part of the problem. And that same philosophical thread may follow why bombs were placed at the consulates and in Times Square.

And that has gotten the attention of the NYPD's Joint Terrorism Task Force, which spent a good part of Monday at the site of the explosion.