America’s Newest Heroes: Bag Thieves and Backpack Snatchers


Via Tyler Cowen, Murray Weiss and Aidan Gardiner tell the story of how police caught the Chelsea bomber so quickly. On Saturday night a couple of enterprising street socialists saw a fine looking suitcase on the sidewalk and decided it was something they could use. This suitcase, it turned out, contained the second bomb, which never went off:

The young men, who sources described as being well-dressed, opened the bag and took the bomb out, sources said, before placing the explosive into a garbage bag and walking away with the rolling suitcase. In doing so, investigators believe they inadvertently disabled the explosive, sources said. That allowed investigators to examine the cellphone attached to the bomb intact and discover that it was connected to the family of Rahami.

From there, they were able to identify pictures on social media of Rahami’s family and of him, and they matched one of his photos to surveillance footage captured in Manhattan.

Another pair of thieves snatched a backpack near a New Jersey train station. When they opened it and found explosives, they dropped it and called the police. They may be thieves, but they aren’t crazy.