PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The FBI released surveillance video Friday of a man sought for questioning after someone threw a homemade incendiary device into a crowded Southern California restaurant at dinnertime last month, though no one was injured in the incident.
People scrambled to get out of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Pasadena when the device — which a police spokesman has called a “glorified firecracker” — made a loud bang and emitted smoke. Patrons tripped and fell as they rushed for the doors, leaving behind their coats, cellphones and baby strollers, but no one was injured in the Feb. 2 incident.
The FBI and Pasadena police announced a $20,000 reward Friday they hope will prompt witnesses to come forward and identify a man captured on nearby surveillance video.
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said detectives wanted to question the man to “determine if that person was solely responsible or not involved at all.” Finding the man could lead police to a motive for the crime, he said.
The day after the incident, a police spokesman told The Associated Press that it appeared the incident was a “stupid prank.”
Investigators said a man opened the restaurant’s front door, lit a homemade incendiary device and tossed it inside. The device landed under a table, and witnesses said the restaurant filled with smoke.
The FBI released several photos and video of the man Friday, identifying him as an “unknown suspect.” He’s described as being about 30 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing 160 pounds, with a beard and mustache. Authorities said the man also walks with an unusual gait, and it appears his feet turn inward when he walks.
There’s no evidence the incident was a terrorist act, said Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles.