Car with gas cans causes scare near Union Square

May 14, 2010 3:26:47 PM PDT
President Barack Obama was in New York City Thursday night and took time to personally thank the NYPD for tracking down the Times Square bombing suspect.But just hours after he left, something suspicious got the bomb squad on the move and officers waited no time getting back to work.

Police responded to a suspicious car found with gas cans in the back near Union Square.

The door to the Con Edison headquarters needed to be boarded up after it sustained some damage when the bomb squad blew out the windows of the car with flash charges.

It is a perfect example of New York City always being on guard.

A 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera was at the center of the investigation. A Con Ed employee noticed two gas cans in the backseat and called 911. Parts of the area were evacuated while a robot was used to X-ray the vehicle. The NYPD found nothing suspicious.

NYPD investigators located the owner of the vechicle. He told police he had the gas cans in his car because he mows lawns for his family. He parked the car in the area because he was attending a concert nearby, police said.

This latest incident happened as Obama was hosting a fundraiser in Midtown. The president personally thanked the NYPD for tracking down the Times Square bombing suspect and said he wants to make sure the department gets the support it needs to protect the city.

But consider the timing, with Wednesday's announcement that the government is cutting New York's share of transportation security money.

Democrats and Republicans alike are questioning that move.

"A lot of people in New York really have some concerns about the policies of the administration here," Rep. Anthony Weiner said.

Local leaders say the cuts amount to $53 million less in transportation security dollars. But government officials say New York already got $100 million from the stimulus that should have been used towards security.

"You can't be taking money from one year and counting it twice the second year," Rep. Peter King said. "It's a total shell game being played by the White House."

"You will never find the mayor of the New York City saying that it's adequate," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "We'll always say we want more."

But the Obama administration doesn't see it that way. The White House says New York is getting $47 million more this year if you factor in the stimulus money from last year.

Local leaders call that creative accounting.