STAPLETON — The man who planted three crude explosive devices around Staten Island in recent weeks tried to pin blame for the bombs on a man he thought was replacing him as a young woman's father figure, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Omar Duran, 54, who lived in the same Graniteville home with a 32-year-old woman and her father, saw himself as her mentor, the commissioner said.
When her boyfriend proposed to her, Duran became jealous and tried to pin blame for the makeshift bombs on him to break up the engagement, Kelly said.
"The woman has a boyfriend who she then intends to marry and we believe the father figure, if you will, was jealous of that and he is the person who distributed these bombs with… the intended husband's name on it," Kelly said.
But sources say it was the relationship Duran had with the woman's 10-year-old daughter that he was actually trying to protect.
Kelly said Duran borrowed the father's car to plant the devices. The car was spotted at each crime scene, he said.
Duran wrote the fiancé's name and his Post Avenue address on two of the bombs, and made several anonymous calls to Homeland Security blaming him for the bombs, Assistant District Attorney, Biju Koshy, said at Duran's arraignment on Thursday.
The couple was married Saturday, the same day a third bomb was found in Grymes Hill near St. John's University. At his arraignment, where Duran pleaded not guilty, Justice Charles Troia set bail at $500,000 and issued an order of protection for the husband, daughter and father.
Duran's fingerprints were found on two of the devices and he confessed to planting the bombs, which he said were intended as a vendetta against the marriage, Koshy said. Calls to immigration officials regarding the boyfriend were traced back to Duran's phone, sources said.
Neighbors said they thought Duran was part of the victim's family, and considered him a nice guy.
"I thought he was related to them," said Latricia Lopez, 50, who lives on the block. "He seemed like a nice man, but now I know better."
Duran was arrested on Wednesday, hours after DNAinfo New York reported the NYPD created a special task force of two dozen cops to investigate the makeshift bombs.
The first device was discovered on Sept. 2, near Barrett and Decker avenues, where Duran left a imitation bomb that was inoperable, according to court records.
The next one was found on Sept. 12, in a knapsack with a propane tank, an empty aerosol can, gasoline, a butane lighter, which was ignitable and considered to be an operated explosive device, according to the complaint.
The third bomb was found Sept. 14 — the day the couple was married — and was also deemed to be operable, records show.
Kelly said the devices were crude and had no way of detonating.
"They were very, very crude," he said. "There really was no detonation device."
Duran was charged with placing a false bomb, reckless endangerment and two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon in the first and third degree, according to the complaint.
He's due back in court on Sept. 24.