A law enforcement official says the 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad walks away wearing a white baseball cap moments after the Nissan Pathfinder is ditched in a no-standing zone across from a Broadway theater.
The official spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Special Section: Terrorism in the U.S.
The SUV was rigged with a homemade gasoline-and-propane bomb that didn't go off on Saturday night. It still cleared the streets of thousands of tourists and shut down Times Square for several hours.
Shahzad was arrested Monday night at Kennedy Airport and faces terrorism and weapons charges.
Early in the attempted bombing investigation, police focused on a man seen in surveillance video changing his shirt near the SUV. That person does not appear to have been connected to the crime after all.
Shahzad, 30, was also captured on surveillance video buying fireworks a store in Matamoras, Pa.
The reports of the fireworks store video came as CBS News published an , posing in Times Square with friends less than 100 yards from the site of the failed car bombing.
Shahzad was charged Tuesday with trying to blow up a crude gasoline and propane device inside a parked SUV amid tourists and Broadway theatergoers. He was in custody after being hauled off a Dubai-bound plane he boarded Monday night at Kennedy Airport despite being under surveillance and placed on the federal no-fly list.
"I was expecting you. Are you NYPD or FBI?" Shahzad told customs officials who came aboard the jet to arrest him, an official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.
Authorities say Shahzad has admitted his role in the botched bombing plot and is cooperating with investigators, but don't yet know whether others were involved in the plan to blow up the SUV.
U.S. officials in Washington said Wednesday they've been unable to verify statements that Shahzad trained at a Pakistani terror camp, according to the complaint against him, and haven't linked him to any terror group.
Faisal Shahzad's Near Escape
The Pakistan Connection
Faisal Shahzad's Motive Shrouded in Mystery
"Unguided Missiles" Pose New Terrorist Threat
53 Hours from Times Square Smoking SUV to Arrest
How Close was Shahzad from Getting Away?
Shahzad's Connecticut Associates under Scrutiny