The two men caught on surveillance camera footage swiping a suitcase dropped by accused New York/New Jersey bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami have been identified as employees of an Egyptian airline by the FBI.
“Authorities had previously said the men were not considered suspects in the attempted bombing and appear to have removed the [explosive] device from the bag on Manhattan’s 27th street in order to lug away the suitcase,” reports ABC News.
NYPD counterterrorism chief James Waters sagely observed the men were “very, very lucky” the bomb didn’t go off when they dumped it to steal the suitcase, which seems like a very odd thing to do. The surveillance video shows them admiring the luggage for a while before removing the pressure-cooking bomb and absconding with it.
The two are considered witnesses in the case, rather than suspected accomplices, and are thought to have returned to Egypt.
The Associated Press characterizes the two Egyptians as “tourists,” and says American investigators have told Egyptian authorities they would like to question the men, emphasizing they have no need to fear being arrested.
The New York Daily News calls the two men “Egyptian pilots,” and describes the stolen luggage as a “tote bag which has a tiger’s face on it, and is covered with tiger print.”
The New York Times says the men are “aged approximately 35 and 42,” and that the FBI knows both their “identities and whereabouts.”
As for the tote bag that inspired them to risk death by pressure-cooker bomb, the NYT describes it as “possibly an imitation of a design made by the brand Louis Vuitton.”