Cops release video of cyclist before Times Square blast

(AP) ? Police have released footage from a private security camera showing a cyclist riding up to the Times Square military recruiting station where a small bomb was detonated.

The bicyclist is seen getting off the 10-speed bike at 3:40 a.m. Thursday, and the blast occurring three minutes later. It is followed by a brief flash and a cloud of white smoke.

The explosion caused minor damage to the landmark military recruiting station, prompting a huge police response that disrupted transit at the "crossroads of the world." It left a gaping hole in the front window and shattered a glass door, twisting and blackening the metal frame of the building, which is on a traffic island.

Police say they later found the bike in the trash. No one was hurt in the blast, but Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the device, though "unsophisticated," could have caused "injury and even death."

A witness also saw a person on a bicycle acting suspiciously around the time the small bomb damaged the recruiting station, Kelly said.

Guests at the Marriott Marquis on 46th Street said they heard a"big bang" and felt the building shake.Terry Leighton, 49, from London said he was on the 21st floor of the hotel when he heard the blast and looked out a window. "I thought it could have been thunder," he said. "I looked down and there was a massive plume of smoke. So I knew it was an explosion."The military's 1,600 recruiting stations nationwide were alerted to the New York incident and advised to use extra caution, said Douglas Smith, spokesman for the Army recruiting command.

The recruiting center was renovated in 1999 to better fit into the flashy ambiance of Times Square, using neon tubing to give the glass and steel office a patriotic American flag motif. For a half century, the station was the armed forces' busiest recruiting center. It has set national records for enlistment, averaging about 10,000 volunteers a year.In October, two small explosive devices were tossed over a fence at the Mexican Consulate on Manhattan's East Side, shattering some windows. Police said they believed someone on a bicycle threw those devices. At the time, police said they were investigating whether it was connected to a similar incident at the British consulate on May 5, 2005. No one was arrested in either incident.

To watch Bloomberg's comments on the bombing, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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