On Tuesday, federal prosecutors formally filed charges against Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man who allegedly planted a series of bombs around New York and New Jersey before getting captured following a shootout Monday night. And while the complaint lists multiple pieces of evidence connecting Rahami to the attacks — including recovered fingerprints and surveillance footage — it also provides a chilling look into the online life of the man accused of injuring 29 people last weekend.
Among other revelations, the charging documents claim an eBay user named “ahmad rahimi” purchased several bomb components through the online auction site between June and August, including electric igniters, hundreds of ball bearings and a precursor to a home-made explosive allegedly used in the devices. The components were then delivered to Rahami’s former workplace, prosecutors say.
Online purchases listed in the complaint.
“I know, based on my training, experience, and conversations with other law enforcement officials, that ball bearings can be used in improvised explosives to increase fragmentation and thus to increase the lethality of the device,” writes Special Agent Peter Licata in the complaint. “I further know, based on conversations with other law enforcement officials, that the 23rd Street Bomb and the 27th Street Bomb both contained as components of the bomb, among other things, ball bearings.”
The documents also describe a video recovered from a relative’s mobile phone that allegedly shows Rahami igniting an explosive device. According to prosecutors, file data indicates the video was shot near Rahami’s home two days before the bombings began.
“A fuse is lit and the object ignites; the Video depicts the lighting of the fuse, a loud noise and flames, followed by billowing smoke and laughter,” writes Licata. “[Rahami] then enters the frame and is seen picking up the cylindrical container.”
More curiously, the complaint the recounts the activities of a YouTube account allegedly belonging to Rahami, which favourited videos with titles like “best jihad [anthem]” alongside more innocuous clips like “WWE’12: How To Make Kratos” and “Cat Backflip Onto Couch.”
For allegedly planting and detonating the devices, Rahami has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing, destruction of property, and using a destructive device in the state of New York. According to NJ.com, authorities say Rahami will be charged with additional offences in New Jersey for the bombs planted there.
In a statement to Gizmodo, eBay said that the types of items listed in the complaint “are legal to buy and sell in the United States and are widely available at online and offline stores”.
We’ve been proactively working with law enforcement authorities on their investigation,” eBay added. [CNN]