Tags: boston | suspects | id | reddit | 4chan

Boston Suspects Id'd? Reddit, 4chan Users Crowdsource Intelligence

Thursday, 18 Apr 2013 09:35 AM

By Alexandra Ward

Internet sleuths on 4chan and Reddit said they think they have identified a handful of potential Boston Marathon suspects after poring over photos and videos from the bombings Monday that killed three people and injured more than 150.

Reddit and 4chan users took images reported on in the media and combined them with a massive crowd-sourcing effort to build a catalogue of images taken near the finish line of Monday's race. With some enterprising investigation and Photoshop, users of both social news forums said they identified different potential suspect and suspicious bags. Yet, with just about every suggestion of guilt comes someone with information to dismiss the suspicions.

If ever there was an effort that offers proof of the power (both positive and negative) of social sharing sites, this batch of photos may be it.

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According to their analysis, there seem to be a few main potential suspects or groups of people who fit a makeshift profile publicized by the media — a person or persons with a black backpack and duffel bag.

1. 4chan users noted that this man is wearing a black backpack and seems to be on a cell phone or have a wire in his ear in these photos. He also fits the rumored "darker-skinned male" description that was floating around in the media. However, others have identified him as part of the National Guard, or of a private security firm. It illustrated how wildly varied the efforts and information have been.

2. This image shows a man carrying a backpack that looks very similar to the photo of the partially blown-apart one in the news. He's got it slung over his arms, which could be because of the weight of the bomb, 4chan users pointed out.

3. These two men reportedly are the "suspects" the New York Post claims the FBI is focusing on. One is carrying a black backpack, and the other has a blue duffel bag. Both men are later photographed without the bags, leading some to believe they dropped them at the site of the explosions. However, other media reports indicate these two are a high school runner and his coach, and there is an uproar over them being labeled by some as suspects.

Law enforcement officials confirmed Wednesday that they have obtained an image of a potential suspect from a department store's video surveillance. The man is reportedly seen dropping off a bag at the site of the bombings and then walking away. The photo has not been released, but the FBI is reportedly working to identify the man. No arrests have been made.

Following is an album of 4chan images:

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Related stories:

Salon Writer Hopes Boston Marathon Bomber Is White American

Actor Jay Mohr Blames Boston Marathon Bombings on Second Amendment

Fake Boston Stories About Marathon Bombing Go Viral on Facebook, Twitter

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