ELIZABETH - Three businesses adjacent to the Elizabeth fried chicken shop owned by the family of the man accused of planting bombs in Seaside Park and Manhattan reopened Wednesday as federal investigators continue to probe the restaurant and an apartment upstairs.
They are searching the backyard behind the restaurant. When federal officials announced charges Tuesday, they said that Ahmad Rahami had recently been setting off explosives there.
In some places, the backyard grass appears to be scorched.
A friend says Rahami often spoke about the future, fancy cars and had aspirations of wealth.
"I don't understand where this absolutely came from," says Sam Reyes, who has known Rahami for seven years. "He was never aggressive, never angry."
Jaime Reyes, who owns a salon next door to the chicken restaurant, says Rahami's father sent his sons to visit their native Afghanistan in a bid to build discipline.
"His father told me, 'I want to send them because they were hanging out with the wrong crowd,'" Reyes says. "They would come back differently, more disciplined, and even slimmer."
But Reyes says he saw no signs of radicalization in Rahami after those trips.