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Faisal Shahzad: How easily can a bomber buy a car anonymously?

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Ken Goldfield/AP

(Read caption) A bomb squad officer works on an SUV in New York's Times Square early Sunday morning, May, 2, after an "amateurish" but potentially powerful bomb was found inside it. The alleged bomb plotter, Faisal Shahzad, was able to buy a vehicle anonymously.

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Before suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad carried out his alleged car-bomb attack, he had to buy a vehicle – anonymously, if possible.

Polices say he used Craigslist, an Internet site where people buy and sell used goods, to purchase a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder from a private seller. Mr. Shahzad paid for it in cash, with 13 $100 bills. He outfitted the car with license plates stolen from a Connecticut used auto parts shop. And he removed the vehicle identification number from the dashboard (though not the engine or axle).

Nevertheless, Mr. Shahzad was quickly identified when authorities traced his e-mail to the Craigslist seller’s computer (who is not a suspect in the attack). That led to his arrest Monday night at New York's John F. Kennedy airport after he had boarded a flight to Dubai.


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