Consulate Blast Still Shrouded in Mystery
Associated Press | July 10, 2005
By TOM HAYS
Two months after an explosion blew out a window near the British consulate in midtown Manhattan, authorities have no clear motive or suspects.
The early morning blast May 5 caused no injuries, but there was speculation that it was meant to coincide with the election that returned British Prime Minister Tony Blair to power. It drew an enormous emergency response by New York officials.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't mention the explosion or the investigation Friday when he visited the consulate to offer condolences after the deadly London subway and bus bombings, and it was business as usual at the 21-story building that houses it on a busy stretch of Third Avenue.
Police so far have no evidence to support an election day motive, despite the timing, said the department spokesman Paul Browne. Nor do they have solid clues pointing to who detonated the replica grenades stuffed with gunpowder and fuses.
"We've done a tremendous amount of work on this case, and there are no suspects or even witnesses," Browne said.
Investigators studied scores of security camera videos that indicate the grenades were thrown, not set inside a concrete planter as originally thought. Some showed the devices, fuses lit, arching toward the building, police said. But none show identifiable witnesses.
The incident had more earmarks of an individual with a hidden agenda than a terrorist organization with a sophisticated plan of attack, said Robert Tucker, a security expert who heads the firm T&M Protection Resources.
But he believes that's no less cause for concern.
"I'm more scared of the lone ranger who's off the radar screen," Tucker said. "This was someone who tested the waters at 845 Third Avenue and can say to himself: 'I didn't even get caught.'"