FBI, police release video showing man suspected of tossing explosive into Pasadena Cheesecake Factory, $20K reward offered



PASADENA >> Police and FBI officials released surveillance video on Friday depicting a man suspected off tossing a homemade explosive device into a crowded Pasadena Cheesecake Factory restaurant last month and offered a $20,000 reward for information in the case.
No one was hurt during the bizarre incident, which took place just after 6 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the restaurant at 2 W. Colorado Blvd. But the unexplained attack left nerves on edge, and investigators continue seeking the man responsible.
The FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information leading the arrest of the person or people responsible for the incident, said Deidre Fike, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Investigators have been gathering clues, interviewing witnesses and following leads since Feb. 2, but the case remains unsolved.
“As we have exhausted those leads, the FBI is offering a reward up to $20,000 for any information that leads to tips and information that identifies the individual or group involved in this act,” Fike said.
To that end, authorities released surveillance camera video footage from a Ralph’s grocery store at 320 W. Colorado Blvd., where Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said the suspect went immediately after the “homemade pyrotechnic device” was tossed into the restaurant. The footage shows a bearded man with a pigeon-toed gate walking through the store.
The video, “captured images of the suspect wearing a white T-shirt and carrying dark clothing, originally worn at the time of the incident,” Sanchez said.
The suspect is later seen discarding the black item of clothing in a trash can. The garment was not recovered, Sanchez said.
Police have described the suspect as a possibly Latino or Middle Eastern man of about 6 feet tall, with a heavy beard, wearing all-black clothing.
Sanchez said investigators had conducted surveillance on another man who turned out not to be involved.
Officials declined to describe the recovered explosive device in detail. It was unclear whether it had detonated to its full potential, or malfunctioned. The device caused only minor damage inside the restaurant.
Mayor Terry Tornek previously said the device was more akin to a firecracker than a bomb.
And the intent of the man who lobbed the device also remains unknown.
“The truth of the matter is we don’t know, and our evidence will take us where we need to be. If it was an elaborate prank, that’s what the evidence will show. If it was something greater than that, we have extraordinary investigators in the FBI and the Pasadena Police Department.”
Between the reward and the clear video footage, Fike said investigators were optimistic that new information will come to light.
“We believe that once this video is released, it will lead to tips coming in that will support the investigation, she said.
“Until we really identify who the individual is, determine the motive for this action and have an opportunity to interview him and any associates, we really don’t know,’ Fike said.
“We have no reason right now, we have no evidence to believe it was a terrorist attack. But again, we do not know the motive, and that’s why we’re reaching out to the community,” she said.
Once the suspect has been identified and interviewed, “We’ll follow the facts from there.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles tip line at 800-225-5324. Tipsters can remain anonymous, Fike said.

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UPDATED: Man sought after hurling explosive into Old Pasadena Cheesecake factory


  • PASADENA >> No one was hurt when a man threw some type of “homemade pyrotechnic device” into a Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Old Pasadena on Thursday evening, authorities said.
    The attacker remained at large following the incident, which took place just after 6 p.m. at the restaurant at 2 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Art Chute said.
    The restaurant was crowded with diners when a man opened the front doors and tossed in the device, which exploded, the lieutenant said.
    No injuries or significant damage to the building were reported.
    “Officers immediately entered the restaurant and evacuated customers and employees and located a detonated homemade pyrotechnic device,” Pasadena police said in a written statement. “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Bomb squad responded to the scene and rendered the device safe.”
    The device was described as a seemingly homemade pyrotechnic device containing gunpowder, Chute said.
    The man who threw the device was last seen fleeing the area on foot.
    The motive in the bizarre attack remained a mystery.
    “Pasadena police detectives are currently handling the investigation and out of an abundance of caution, the federal authorities have been notified,” according to the statement.
    Police described the man as a Latino or Middle Eastern man, about 6 feet tall, of thin build, with a heavy beard. He wore all black clothing and a black beanie.
    Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
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