Part of Times Square, known as the Crossroads of the World, were shut down and evacuated Saturday night by police due to bomb threat. A potentially deadly car bomb ignited, releasing smoke, but failed to explode.
Anthony Ogburn was on the scene in Times Square, celebrating his 50th birthday. He heard that a man, a regular in the area, had tipped off the police that a car was “smoking” in the vicinity of Times Square.
NYPD Officer Wayne Rhatigan was the officer that was tipped off. Circling the vehicle, he “smelled gunpowder and knew it might blow.”
Using a robot, police secured the vehicle, and removed three propane tanks, fireworks, two filled 5-gallon gasoline containers, and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and more from an SUV, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the Associated Press.
The call was made around 6:30 p.m., and the SUV was parked near 44th street and 7th ave. Police blocked off Times Square from 42nd st to 47th along Broadway. As of 11:00pm the police still had that part of Times Square blocked off to vehicles.
The two rookie cops reported seeing a man running away from the scene as they approached the car.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said cops were investigating a report that someone was seen running from the vehicle at some point and are reviewing security videotapes.
Aside from disrupting traffic and pedestrians, the bomb scare also delayed many Broadway shows in the area.