One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and four individuals seemingly following this creed “probably saved hundreds of lives” in New York City and Elizabeth, New Jersey, over the last two days, officials said.
Two scavengers were caught on video unknowingly handling a pressure cooker bomb on Saturday in Chelsea while scoring an apparently abandoned suitcase, police said. Late Sunday night, two homeless men, looking for “something of value” in a discarded bag, discovered five pipe bombs in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
“People go through life on the edge in a very difficult position yet they probably saved hundreds of lives,” said Christian Bollwage, mayor of Elizabeth, DNA Info reported.
"They were walking with angels,” he added about the homeless men who found the pipe bombs in New Jersey, NJ.com reported. “They carried this [backpack] 800 to 1,000 yards before they dropped it.”
Authorities are looking for the two men on the video in connection with Saturday night’s events in Chelsea. The men are seen on video opening the rolling luggage, removing the pressure cooker from the bag and rolling the luggage away while the pressure cooker bomb was left out in the open.
"Once they picked up the bag, they seemed incredulous. They had actually picked this up off the street and they walked off with it," NYPD's Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, DNA Info reported.
"Who in this world finds a pressure cooker with a phone and just takes the bag?" a law enforcement source told DNA Info.
Hours after a bomb detonated in a Dumpster on West 23rd Street injuring 29 people, the second bomb left exposed by the urban foragers was found on West 27th Street.
Officials do not believe the men are related to the terror plot, but would like to speak to them as witnesses, according to New York Post.
"We’re considering them witnesses right now. ... We’ll put their images out and hopefully get them identified," Boyce said.
Metro contacted NYPD, but were told they are not ready to release images or the video from Saturday night.
Boyce added that the men might have even disarmed the bomb inadvertently pulling a wire, which allowed investigators to examine the intact device, including the cellphone later determined to be connected to the family of Ahmed KhanRahami, the suspect arrested in connection with both incidents, New York Post reported.