A retired NYPD detective screening Robert De Niro's mail realised he'd been sent a pipe bomb after he saw the packaging from news coverage

Picture: Getty Images
  • A retired New York Police Department detective called the bomb squad early Thursday after realising a package he’d screened in the actor Robert De Niro’s mail looked like the ones he’d seen on news coverage.
  • A series of pipe bombs have been intercepted in recent days after being sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump.
  • The NYPD said Thursday that New Yorkers should be vigilant of all suspicious packages, and to call police immediately if they think there might be a threat.

A retired New York Police Department detective directly contacted the bomb squad after realising that a package he’d seen days earlier in Robert De Niro’s company’s mail looked exactly like the ones featured on news coverage that had been sent to a slew of top Democrats and prominent critics of President Donald Trump, authorities said Thursday.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Jason Miller told reporters at a Thursday press conference that the retired detective had noticed the package on Tuesday, one day before a wave of pipe bombs were intercepted after being sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, billionaire Democratic donor George Soros, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.

Miller said the retired detective had been watching the news early on Thursday morning when he saw an image of the labelled, manila envelopes used to package the pipe bombs.

“It struck him that that looked very much like a package he had seen on Tuesday in mail he was to screen for Robert De Niro Productions at their offices on Greenwich Street,” Miller said.

He added that the former detective knew how to directly call the NYPD’s bomb squad, which arrived immediately and removed the device safely from the building.

Miller said the bomb was placed in a “total containment vessel” and brought to the Rodman’s Neck range in the Bronx, along with some of the other devices.

New York City officials urged New Yorkers to be vigilant in the coming days about unfamiliar packages, and to call police if they see anything suspicious.

“These devices should be considered dangerous,” the FBI’s assistant director-in-charge, William Sweeney, said at a press conference. “Do not touch, do not move, do not handle any suspicious, unknown package.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the bombings were “absolutely terrorism,” and added that residents should call 911 for suspicious packages or activities even if they’re unsure whether a threat exists.

“If it’s on the cusp, make the call. If you think maybe you should call, definitely call,” de Blasio said. “Let law enforcement be the ones to make that call.”

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