NEW YORK — An "al-Qaida sympathizer" accused of plotting to bomb police and post offices in New York as well as U.S. troops returning home has been arrested on numerous terrorism-related charges, officials said Sunday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a news conference the Saturday arrest of Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, "a 27-year-old al-Qaida sympathizer" who the mayor said was motivated by terrorist propaganda and resentment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The mayor said Pimentel, a U.S. citizen originally from the Dominican Republic, was "plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning from abroad."
Pimentel was under surveillance by New York police who were working with a confidential informer and was in the process of building a bomb, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. No injury to anyone or damage to property is alleged. In addition, authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else, the mayor said.
"He appears to be a total lone wolf," the mayor said. "He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad."
Instead, Bloomberg said, Pimentel represents the type of threat FBI director Robert Mueller has warned about as U.S. forces erode the ability of terrorists to carry out large scale attacks.
Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, is accused of having an explosive substance when he was arrested that he planned to use against others and property to terrorize the public.
The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least to October 2010, and include first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.
He was to be arraigned later on Sunday.
Kelly said the informer had numerous conversations with Pimentel on Sept. 7 in which he expressed interest in building small bombs and targeting banks, government and police buildings.
He spent most of his years in Manhattan and lived about five years in Schenectady, Kelly said.