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Homeless Man and Pal Tip Off Cops to Bombs in Trashed Backpack

Linked to alleged bistate bomber Rahami, backback contained five explosive devices, one detonated by police robot while being defused

Ahmad Khan Rahami’s alleged bistate bombing spree has improved the life of at least one person, a homeless man who found a backpack containing explosive devices near the Elizabeth, N.J., train station. Lee Parker, 50, and his friend, Ivan White, reported their discovery to police.

The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless is now helping Parker in his search for an apartment. He is currently staying in a hotel, courtesy of supporters, and Norma Bowe of Be the Change NJ said he was treated to a big restaurant meal Tuesday.

Officials say the responsible behavior of Parker and White contrasts with that of two men caught by security cameras a few blocks from a bombing in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The New Yorkers apparently discovered a pressure-cooker bomb inside a duffel bag, took the bag, and left the bomb on the street, where it was discovered soon after by passersby.

Parker originally grabbed the backpack out of a trash barrel because he needed one but quickly dropped it when he realized what was inside. The Union County bomb squad found five devices inside, and the backpack exploded while a robot was trying to defuse them.

Rahami, also an Elizabeth resident, allegedly set off a bomb Saturday that did little damage near the route of a 5K run in Seaside Park, as well as the one that injured 29 people in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. Rahami, injured in a shootout with police in Linden, remains in University Hospital in Newark.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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