Bike-Riding Suspect Sought in Attack on Greek Consulate
By AL BAKER
Published: December 10, 2008
An attack on the Greek Consulate in Manhattan early Wednesday by a bicyclist wearing a hooded sweatshirt is being analyzed for links to three bombings at high-profile addresses in the borough since 2005, the authorities said.
The exterior of the consulate building at 69 East 79th Street was defaced with graffiti, and three cobblestones and half a red brick were hurled at three windows, damaging the glass but not breaking it, the police said.
The attack occurred about 4:18 a.m., and a witness saw the man in the sweatshirt on a yellow or gold-colored bicycle pedaling east on East 79th Street, then south on Park Avenue. The police also said security cameras from the area captured images of a man who detectives believe was responsible for the attack.
Though no bomb was used, investigators said the attack bore striking similarities to attacks on the British Consulate at 845 Third Avenue in 2005, the Mexican Consulate at 27 East 39th Street last year and at the Times Square military recruiting station in March.
Each occurred about the same time of day, inflicted little damage and caused no injuries. A bicyclist with a hooded jacket or sweatshirt was spotted at the scene of the attacks, and each appeared to have political motivations.
“Detectives are investigating the possibility that all four are connected and possibly the work of the same individual,” said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.
Mr. Browne said the earlier cases were still being investigated. The bombing at the British Consulate occurred on election day in Britain. The one outside the Mexican Consulate came on the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of a journalist who often chronicled little-known disputes in Latin America. The bombing in Times Square was against a symbol and outpost of the United States military.
The attack on Wednesday appeared to be a response to the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy by Athens police on Saturday. His death has led to public protests in a number of Greek cities. Riots have engulfed Athens since the shooting, which the police in Greece contended was the result of a ricocheting bullet, not a direct shot at the teenager.
Among the graffiti on the Greek Consulate building, rendered in black spray paint, were the words “Alex was here.” There was also the letter A within a circle, the universal symbol of anarchy, above the word “murderers.”
If authorities are able to link the four cases, the attack on the Greek Consulate may have given detectives the best portrait of the suspect to date, Mr. Browne said. He described the suspect as a white man, about 6 feet tall and weighing 170 pounds.
Christine Hauser and Jennifer Mascia contributed reporting.