A bomb that went off near the course of a Saturday morning charity race in a beachside New Jersey town was the first of a series of blasts and foiled bombing attempts in the New York-New Jersey area over the weekend.
Officials at first did not believe the Saturday morning blast in Seaside Park, New Jersey was connected to the bombing and foiled bomb attempts in New York City later Saturday night, but now are suggesting the incidents may be linked.
No one was injured in the Saturday morning beachside detonation, because the race had been delayed by a surge in registrations as well as by the discovery of an unclaimed backpack that was unrelated to the bombing attempt.
The bomb detonated in a trash can at around 9:35 a.m. ET, near the route of the Semper Five race, the third-annual charity 5K that was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., according to Asbury Park Press. The 5K had been delayed because the race before it — a one-mile run — started 15 minutes late due to registration issues. An unclaimed bag — later found to belong to a local high school student — also pushed back the 5K, race attendees told the Asbury Park Press.
Al Della Fave, the spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, said that the bomb inside the garbage can was actually multiple explosive devices that did not ultimately do the damage it was designed to do, Asbury Park Press reported.
Authorities said that investigators discovered three pipe bombs wired together, CNN reported. The officials told CNN that only one of the bombs detonated and that they were set up with some sort of timer.
Authorities did a sweep using bomb dogs of the area, CNN reported, and found no other devices. Nonetheless portions of the beach were closed for the course of the investigation, Patch.com reported, and other events in the area were canceled.
Local officials speculated Saturday that the charity associated with the race –the MARSOC Foundation, which aids Marines and their families — may had been part of the motive behind the bombing.
“You would have to assume that at a military-type event, the U.S. Marines, a device is placed along the route of a charity event, it would be hard to think it would be anything else,’’ Della Fave said, according to the Asbury Park Press.
The FBI and Department of Homeland were both involved in the initial investigations, CNN reported.
While at first officials were hesitant to link the Seaside Park blast to the Saturday evening bombings in Chelsea neighborhood of New York, by Monday New Jersey State Police said the incidences were in fact connected, the AP reported,
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that investigators believe “that there was a common group behind the bombs,” based on the “certain commonalities among the bombs,” according to the AP.