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This is how Shahzad was caught

What can only be called sheer luck, led to the capture of the almost-bomber

world Updated: May 06, 2010 17:54 IST

In an interesting twist to the Times Square bomb scare incident, it was discovered that prime acccused Faisal Shahzad (30), was nabbed by the FBI, primarily because of a phone number he had provided to the Customs and Border Protection Agency, when he returned from Pakistan in February, according to a report on New York Times website.

The phone number he had given, three months ago, came up when investigators were checking the record of calls made to or from the prepaid cellular telephone used by the purchaser of the vehicle used in the failed bombing, the report said. It was on matching the phone number that the investigators were led to Shahzad.

A case of what can only be called sheer luck, Shahzad had been pulled aside for secondary checking because he had been returning from Pakistan. It was after a Nigerian man tried to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight, that a list of 14 'mostly muslim' nations - including Pakistan - was drawn up, and passengers arriving from these nations were to be subjected to secondary checking. The program, however, has been discontinued in favour of a more selective process.

It was during this selective checking, that Shahzad was required to submit a phone number. The Customs and Border Protection Agency duly filed a report and sent the details to the FBI, who in turn put it in their database.

On the New York Police's discovery of the explosives-loaded, smoking vehicle in Times Square, an attempt was made to establish the ownership of the vehicle, and it was traced back to the woman who had sold it for cash. While she had no legal papers and didn't even remember the name of the person she sold the car to, she had the number which he had used to contact her. On tracing the calls made to and from from that prepaid number, and running them through their database, only one match turned up - the number Shahzad had given in during his secondary check.

The latest development in this tale worthy of detective novels, is that Shahzad has given up his right to a speedy arraignment, which means he does not have to be brought to court right away, officials said.