Police seek two passersby who handled New York pressure cooker bomb

Two people sought by police allegedly removed the pressure cooker bomb from a bag before walking away with the bag.
Two people sought by police allegedly removed the pressure cooker bomb from a bag before walking away with the bag.PHOTO: FACEBOOK

NEW YORK (AFP) - New York police said on Wednesday (Sept 21) they are seeking two pedestrians filmed handling the unexploded pressure cooker bomb found late on Saturday just blocks from where a bomb blast injured 29 people.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill stressed that the two are wanted as witnesses and are not suspected in the bombing that ripped through New York's Chelsea neighbourhood that night.

Surveillance cameras caught the two walking down West 27th Street and coming across a duffel bag that had been left in the street.

They "saw the bag, admired the bag, removed what turned out to be a device, a pressure cooker. Placed it on the sidewalk and rolled the bag away," Police Commissioner James O'Neil said.

"They're very, very lucky" it didn't explode, said O'Neill.

A photo of the two taken from the surveillance video was posted on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website along with an advisory that they were being sought as witnesses.

"They are witnesses. There are no criminal charges. They're not in any jeopardy of being arrested," O'Neill said.

An Afghan-born American, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was charged on Tuesday with the bombing in Chelsea and a pipe bombing earlier the same day in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

Doctors have yet to give police the go-ahead to question Rahami, who was wounded in a shootout police before being taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, O'Neill said.