Faisal Shahzad was recently arrested on charges that he drove a car bomb into Times Square in an attempt to detonate a "fireball" in the crowded New York City neighborhood.
His arrest comes just several days after the discovery of the Times Square car bomb, and investigators' ability to so quickly track down the suspect is due in no small part to the technological trail of clues left by Shahzad.
We've taken a look at how technology--from cell phones to surveillance cameras, Facebook to Craigslist--helped expedite the arrest of this person of interest connected to the Times Square bombing attempt.
Find out more about the investigation here.
City security cameras captured images of the SUV that was later found to contain the explosive device. In the investigation into the attempted bombing, officials also closely examined surveillance camera footage depicting a person of interest on West 45th Street, near the scene of the crime, removing a shirt. According to the New York Times, "Law enforcement officials offered a more detailed description of the makeup of the failed car bomb found in Times Square on Saturday night, and said they were reviewing surveillance footage that showed a white man who appeared to be in his 40s walking away from the area as he looked over his shoulder and removed a layer of clothing." The AP additionally notes, "The SUV was captured on video crossing an intersection at 6:28 p.m. Saturday. A vendor pointed out the Pathfinder to an officer about two minutes later. Times Square, clogged with tourists on a warm evening, was shut down for 10 hours. A bomb squad dismantled the explosive device, and no one was hurt."
The suspect in the Times Square plot is believed to have purchased the SUV used in the bombing attempt via Craigslist--a transaction that left a cyber trail that helped authorities track him down. Switched explains, Officials were able to trace the incident back to Shahzad after they followed the breadcrumb trail that his infamous 1993 Nissan Pathfinder left all over the Internet. As it turns out, the original owner of the car recently put it up for sale on at least two sites -- NothingButCars.net and, of course, Craigslist. The Pathfinder was listed for $1,300, and had over 141,000 miles on it. But according to the online ads, it was "CLEAN inside and out!!"
Politico explains that Shahzad's cell phone helped FBI track down the suspect: The number from a disposable cellphone led FBI agents to the suspect arrested Monday night for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on Saturday evening, according to a senior official. “They were able to basically get one phone number and by running it through a number of databases, figure out who they thought the guy was,” the official said. Although the suspect was no longer in possession of the phone, "using a lot of technology and access to database, agents located the suspect," writes Politico. Fox News adds, "Sources say that evidence includes international phone calls made by the person of interest, who has not been identified publicly."
Shahzad's email address helped lead investigators to this "person of interest:" According to the New York Times, "The law enforcement official who said Mr. Shahzad had implicated himself also revealed more details of his purchase of the Pathfinder, saying that the authorities had found Mr. Shahzad using the e-mail address he had given the seller."
Photos of Faisal Shahzad emerged via the suspect's profiles on social networking sites, including Facebook and Orkut. These photos provided the world a first glimpse at the person of interest suspected in the Times Square bombing plot.