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Central Park explosion: NYPD looks for suspect with chemistry background, offers reward

The NYPD is offering a reward for information

The NYPD is offering a reward for information on the explosion in Central Park on July 3, 2016. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Investigators offered a reward of up to $40,000 on Wednesday for information on last year’s Central Park explosion that severely injured a Virginia tourist.

The reward comes as tips into the incident have dried up and the NYPD is trying to pinpoint exactly when the device was placed there.

“Right now we’re still missing a lot of answers, we need a lot of information,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, adding police were looking for someone “with some kind of chemist background.”

The tourist, 18-year-old Connor Golden, had jumped off a rock near 60th Street on the east side of the park at about 10:50 a.m. on July 3, 2016, and stepped onto an explosive device inside a plastic bag. Golden spent several days in the hospital and had to have his leg amputated up to his knee.

Boyce said police believe the device had been in the park for several days before it exploded, but don’t know the reason why.

He added there is nothing to indicate this was an act of terrorism. The device did not have a timer and was left about 50 feet from the main road, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said.

Boyce said the department has followed through on about 20 tips.

Ashan M. Benedict, the special agent in charge of the New York field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the agency was looking for photographs park visitors may have taken that could indicate exactly when the device was placed there.

“The explosive material was homemade and extremely dangerous,” Benedict said. “The victim suffered life-altering, traumatic injuries as a result of this explosion, but it could have been just about any visitor to Central Park who was hurt that day.”

Boyce said the components used are “commercially attainable.”

At the time of the explosion, police said they believed the material was made by an “explosive hobbyist or an experimenter.”

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