Hijack victim's iPhone foiled brothers' terror plot for New York
Published 27/04/2013 | 08:47
A driver whose car was hijacked by the Boston bombing suspects has described how he managed to escape then use his iPhone to help police track them down, thwarting their alleged plan to drive to New York and bomb Times Square.
The 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur, identified only as 'Danny', fled from the Mercedes when the older suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was distracted by a satnav.
In his haste, he left behind his iPhone, and called police to tell them he could use it to track the car.
Within hours, the authorities had used the phone to corner the suspects in the suburb of Watertown, where Tamerlan (26) was killed in a shoot-out in the early hours of April 19. His younger brother Dzhokhar (19) was captured hiding in the suburb later that day.
In an earlier interview, Danny said that the suspects told him they were planning to go to New York. On Thursday, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, said that Dzhokhar had disclosed that he and his brother had planned to attack Times Square. Officials said the pair had six more bombs that were ready to use.
For three days after the attack, the Tsarnaev brothers kept a low profile. The younger sibling even returned to his university campus and reportedly attended a party.
However, on April 18, after the FBI released surveillance footage showing them at the marathon finish line, the brothers began a bloody and chaotic overnight spree across the city.
After allegedly murdering a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, Tamerlan approached Danny's SUV with a gun and forced him to drive.
When Danny asked Tamerlan if he had been following the news of the bombings, the suspect allegedly replied "I did that," adding: "And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge."
Tamerlan ordered his captive not to look at his face, but then laughed and said: "It's like white guys, they look at black guys and think all black guys look the same. And maybe you think all white guys look the same."
When Danny's mobile phone rang, he said the brothers told him to answer and tell the friend who was calling that he would not be going home that night. "Good boy," Tamerlan said when the call ended.
Later he managed to escape.
Danny said he felt "obviously safer" after learning the elder brother had been killed, but for hours remained frightened that the younger brother, who remained at large, might be able to track him down.
Yesterday Dzhokhar was transferred out of the Boston hospital where he was recovering from multiple gunshot wounds and taken to a prison hospital outside the city.
He is reported to have spent 16 hours co-operating with interrogators but stopped talking after being advised that under the American constitution he had the right to remain silent. (© Daily Telegraph, London)