Homeless Heroes Thwart Attempted Bombing in New Jersey

SOURCEThink Progress

Two homeless men may have saved lives by informing authorities about suspicious devices they found near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sunday night.

The devices they discovered turned out out to be bombs.

From New York City TV reporter Anthony DiLorenzo:

An ABC News report contains more information:

A call came into Elizabeth authorities at 8:47 p.m. after two men found a suspicious backpack in a garbage can, mayor Chris Bollwage said in a press conference. The men took it around the corner thinking there was something of value in it, but notified police when they saw wires and a pipe inside the bag. Police immediately brought in the bomb squad.

The devices were later detonated:

The actions of the homeless men in Elizabeth, which came the night after an IED explosion injured at least 29 people in nearby New York City, earned widespread praise on social media.

Those reactions stand in contrast to how homeless people are often stigmatized. Targeted acts of violence against homeless people are still prevalent throughout the country, and the criminalization of homelessness continues to be a problem in many local communities. Yet homelessness is a real concern for more people than you might imagine. In addition to the nearly 600,000 people who might experience homelessness on any given night in America, 43 percent of households are liquid-asset poor and thus at risk of losing their housing in the event of job loss or a medical emergency.

The vigilance of the men in Elizabeth is a reminder that homeless people aren’t just human — they are integral members of the community.


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Aaron Rupar comes to ThinkProgress from Minnesota, where he was established as a staff writer for the Minneapolis City Pages covering everything from crime to state politics to cultural news and back again. He also worked as a digital producer for the Twin Cities Fox TV affiliate and as a communications staffer for the Democratic caucus in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Outside the newsroom, Aaron enjoys NBA basketball (particularly the Minnesota Timberwolves) and all sorts of live music. He's an accomplished jazz and rock n' roll drummer who's looking to network with musicians in DC, so if you know of a playing opportunity or news tip, please drop him a line. Aaron has a masters degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota.