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NYPD Sources: Authorities Find Image Showing Man 'Dropping' Something Near Dumpster Before Chelsea Explosion

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- NYPD sources said authorities have found an image in surveillance video showing a man "dropping" something near a dumpster prior to the blast in Chelsea that injured over two dozen people.

NYPD sources told CBS2 the person has not been identified, but they want to talk to him and others seen on video as potential witnesses in the area prior to the blast on West 23rd Street.

Police also have images from the second scene where a pressure cooker device failed to detonate on West 27th Street. Sources told CBS2 there are images of a man carrying what appears to be some type of case. They are looking to identify that individual as a potential witness and stopped short of calling him a suspect.

Police are using facial recognition software linked to criminal mug shot databases to try and identify.

NYPD sources also told CBS2 it is too early to tell if the devices are connected, despite reports linking the bombings in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey.

Sources said that there is no video or forensic evidence to support the theory that the same person was responsible for the bombing in Chelsea on Saturday night that injured 29 people and the pipe bombs in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

However, they have not ruled out a possible connection as both devices used cellphones as detonators, but that is common in explosive devices.

A federal official told CBS News they are aware of a page claiming responsibility for the bombing in Chelsea.

Authorities told CBS2 they are investigating but see the claim as an unlikely motive and more of someone just trying to take advantage of the opportunity.

The New York Post originally reported a Tumblr page claimed to be the "NY Bomber."

"You probably have all seen the news by now, the explosives detonated in New York City, that was me. Those were just some tests, I know where I have made errors and I will not make the same mistake next time," one of the posts reads.

The Tumblr post said, "I cannot live in a world where homosexuals like myself as well as the rest of the LGBTQ+ community are looked down upon by society."

It concluded, "This is not the end, this is just the beginning. I will be remembered. I will make a difference. I will eliminate my targets before it is too late."

The official told CBS News the FBI and NYPD are investigating the claim.

The Tumblr page has been taken down.

During a press conference Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was a bombing that injured 29 people.

"This was a very serious incident, it's going to take a lot of careful investigation to get to the facts and to the truth," de Blasio said during a press conference Sunday afternoon. "We are not going to jump to conclusions."

CHELSEA EXPLOSION: 'Intentional' Blast On W. 23rd Street; 29 Hurt | Sources: 2nd Device On W. 27th Pressure Cooker | Mayor: No Specific, Credible Threat To NYC 

CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported that de Blasio said at this point of the investigation, authorities are not calling the explosion an act of terrorism.

De Blasio said they do not yet know what the motivation was behind the bombing.

"This was an intentional act, but we do not know the motivation," de Blasio said, adding authorities will be looking into whether it could have been politically or socially motivated.

De Blasio also called on New Yorkers to "be vigilant" and that there will be more police presence in the city. 

"You will see a very substantial NYPD presence this week, bigger than ever," de Blasio said, mentioning that the United Nations General Assembly will be protected.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill called it a "complex investigation."

"We've recovered video from both scenes and we're continuing to canvass for witnesses and additional video," O'Neill said.

O'Neill said he is "concerned," but added that the person who did this will be brought to justice.

"We are always in a state of readiness," O'Neill said.

O'Neill added, "We're still gathering evidence and we did find some components indicative of an IED."

There are no suspects in the case.

The second device that was found is currently being investigated by the bomb squad. 

An NYPD official told CBS News they were successfully able to pull the second pressure cooker device apart and did not have to blow it up. NYPD sources told CBS2 the device will be sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for additional forensic examination.

There was no structural damage to any buildings in the blast.

Police had earlier advised residents on the block where the device was found to stay away from windows facing 27th Street.

The blast left 29 injured. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday morning that all 29 people have been treated and released from hospitals.

Cuomo said an additional 1,000 state police officers and National Guard troops will be deployed to city bus and subway stations and airports Monday as a precaution.

1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported businesses in the area are being affected.

It was chaos on West 23rd Street on Saturday night after an explosion in or near a dumpster by a busy intersection in Chelsea set off a chain of confusion and fear across New York City.

The blast rattled nearby buildings, CBS2's Jessica Layton reported. Flying glass and dumpster debris injured the 29 people, including David Martinez, who was scared he'd never see his son again.

"I was driving a car and next thing you know I felt an explosion and the car just tilted over halfway and came back down," he said. "And what happened was I just blacked out -- next thing you know I'm in an ambulance."

Many more were left with their hearts pounding, ears ringing and their sense of safety totally rocked.

"Scared to death," Soleil Filomena said. "It was that -- it went right through you. It was shaking the earth. Like an earthquake, it was really loud. I never heard anything so loud."

PHOTOS: Chelsea Explosion Leaves 29 Injured

It was even frightening for people who were inside nearby and felt the blast.

"The hairs on my arm went up," one man said. "It was bone-chilling. I knew that in my heart and my gut, something was terribly wrong."

"I was in an apartment with some friends about a block away, and we heard the explosion, and we just grabbed each other," one woman told 1010 WINS' Holli Haerr. "The building shook. We looked, for a moment, just terrified."

"It was a boom," Wayne Tiegman, who lives nearby, told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman. "It wasn't like a collapse; it was like a boom like thunder, but like a hundred times louder than thunder." 

Ramon Lopez said he helped a woman with a nasty-looking eye injury into an ambulance and saw another with shrapnel sticking out of her shoulder.

"There were some people laying," he said. "There were people standing, (screaming) 'oh my God!'"

On Sunday morning, police were carefully reviewing surveillance video frame by frame to determine who may have planted the explosives. De Blasio and O'Neill said Saturday night they it was an intentional act, but added that there is no evidence yet that the explosion was connected to terrorism.

Cuomo said Sunday he believes the mayor meant to say there was no link to international terrorism.

"No one has taken credit," Cuomo said. "There have been no international groups that have put out statements that are connecting them with this action. Now, it depends on your definition of terrorism. A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism, but it's not linked to international terrorism."

"I want to assure all New Yorkers that the NYPD and all other agencies are at full alert, and that our anti-terror capacity in particular is at full alert," de Blasio said Saturday night.

In a statement, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton condemned the "apparent terrorist attacks" in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.

"Law enforcement officials are working to identify who was behind the attacks in New York and New Jersey and we should give them the support they need to finish the job and bring those responsible to justice - we will not rest until that happens," Clinton said.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the explosion appeared to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building. Photos from the scene show a twisted and crumpled black metal box.

Police sources told CBS2 the second device was a pressure cooker with a cellphone and wires attached, and was found in a plastic bag.

The second device did not detonate. As of Sunday morning, there was no immediate word on if the device was ever capable of detonating, but the NYPD bomb squad took no chances, with counter-terrorism officials, along with the Office of Emergency Management, telling residents to stay inside and away from windows that face the street, CBS2'a Magdalena Doris reported.

Police say the pressure cooker device has been secured by SWAT and counterterrorism officials. The device was taken to Rodman's Neck facility in the Bronx.

The device was found at 11 p.m. after the initial explosion. The NYPD and SWAT teams are now fanning out through the city in search of other possible explosions.

The second device that was found is currently being investigated by the bomb squad. 

An NYPD official told CBS News they were successfully able to pull the second pressure cooker device apart and did not have to blow it up. NYPD sources told CBS2 the device will be sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for additional forensic examination.

Jane Schreibman alerted police to the second device. She told CBS2 she went out for a walk after hearing about the explosion and that's when she spotted the pressure cooker bomb that was perched near a mailbox.

"So I went upstairs and I called 911 and then I came back down the stairs to wait for them and they came about a minute or two later and they shouted, 'Run, get off the street,' and that's when I realized they were really taking it seriously and thought it was a bomb," Schreibman said.

Schreibman spent most of the night at a friend's nearby apartment and was allowed to return to her own apartment around 3 a.m.


The blast came hours after a device exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday morning, shortly before thousands of runners participated in a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. De Blasio said at this point there is no indication that the two incidents are connected.

The governor said the devices found in Chelsea and at Seaside Park were different, describing the three explosives tied together in New Jersey as pipe bombs.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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