Just back from 2nd Street and 2nd Avenue, where Police Commissioner Ray Kelly recounted the bizarre chain of events that led to the recovery of eight sticks of C4 explosives from the historic Marble Cemetery. As helicopters hovered overhead, a huge pack of reporters strained to hear the commissioner explain that a caretaker found a black bag in the cemetery in May or June of 2009.
Apparently not thinking much of his discovery, he placed the bag near a tree. Then, yesterday a volunteer noticed the bag, peaked inside and then tossed it in a garbage bin. This morning (a little after 10am), that volunteer thought twice about what he had found and called police. Upon inspection, the NYPD determined they had C4 (a plastic explosive more powerful than TNT) on their hands.
Separately, the 9th Precinct received a rambling note on Sunday signed by “Jesus Christ,” that said something like, “stop putting Christ on 2nd Street.”
The explosives were not connected to an ignition device, so they could not have been detonated. But one big question remains: how did the C4 get in the cemetery in the first place? Kelly said the sticks have military markings on them. A reporter asked whether they could have come from a commercial, rather than a military, facility. Kelly said he did not think that was likely.
Just to complicate matters a bit more — someone wrote in chalk on the sidewalk (near the cemetery) “I really hope one of you finds this.”
620pm UPDATE: Tonight the Daily News has this tidbit —
The back wall of the cemetery abuts some brownstones and is about 100 feet from the notorious E 3rd Street clubhouse of the Hell’s Angels motorcyle gang. According to “Hell’s Angels: Three Can Keep a Secret if Two are Dead” by Yves Lavigne, the biker gang stockpiled C-4 in the 1980s and one Manhattan member roams the nation teaching other gang members how to use explosives.