Times Square Suspect Snagged by Phone Number

One he gave officials months ago turned up as a match
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2010 8:41 PM CDT
A file photo of Faisal Shahzad.   (AP Photo/Orkut.com)

(Newser) – The would-be Times Square bomber came oh-so-close to covering all his tracks. But as the details trickle in, it seems what truly tripped him up was a phone number he provided to customs officials as part of airport screening a few months ago, reports the New York Times. The new information provides a more complete look at how grunt work, skill, and "sheer luck" led to the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, write Peter Baker and Scott Shane.

When Shahzad returned from Pakistan in February, he got pulled aside for extra screening in place over the failed Christmas Day plot. He gave a phone number, which got entered into a database. Flash forward: When he bought the Pathfinder off Craigslist, Shahzad used a prepaid cellphone with no registered owner. When authorities ran a check, they discovered it had received four recent calls from Pakistan. One of them matched the one in the database. It was their first connection to Shahzad and eventually led to his arrest.

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