An alert doorman notified New York Crime Stoppers after having spotted two pressure cookers in the trunk of an automobile. The car was driven by two Kuwaiti tourists checking in this weekend at a swanky Midtown Manhattan hotel.
It didn’t take long before more than a dozen NYPD counterterrorism and intelligence officers arrived. After being questioned for hours, the the pair called their vacation plans short and left in a huff.
The two men, identified as Ayoub Alawadhi, 21, and Mohammad Alotaibi, 20, are both engineering students at Boise State University in Idaho. They arrived at the InterContinental Hotel Friday evening, with plans to remain until Tuesday, according to the New York Post, which reported:
Alawadhi said he had no idea why he was being questioned until a cop told him pressure cookers were used in the Boston Marathon bombing.
“They said, ‘You haven’t heard about Boston?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And they told me about Boston.”
“The police questioned us for three hours,” Alawadhi told the Post. “It was a little scary.”
The students said they purchased the cookware at a Dearborn, Mich. Arab supermarket after having completed summer classes in Michigan. They claimed they intended to use the items to cook rice and meat, and that similar pressure cookers aren’t available in Idaho.
“They only have them in Arabian supermarkets,” Alawadh said.
He never heard of buying anything online?
The Post noted that in addition to the Boston Marathon bombing:
Seven timed pressure-cooker bombs were used in a 2006 attack on trains in Mumbai that killed more than 200 people.
Pressure cookers were also used in a failed bombing in Times Square in 2010 and another failed attack in British Columbia in 2013.
“I am leaving New York because of this,” Alawadh told the Post. “We were supposed to stay until Tuesday, but we are leaving Sunday because of this.”