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Boston suspect ID'd? Reddit identifies 'bag men' as high school students

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   April 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM   |   Comments

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April 18 (UPI) -- Updates follow story

Law enforcement investigators called for photos in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, in the hopes that evidence pointing to the perpetrators was recorded on the thousands of cell phones carried by people around the scene Monday.

Some of those images began to circulate online, including several showing a young man in a blue track jacket, carrying a duffle bag, and another young man in a white hat with a backpack.

The New York Post had several major reporting stumbles, insisting that authorities had a suspect -- a Saudi national -- "under guard" at a hospital, and that 12 people had been killed.


Thursday's cover was another, with an image of two young men under the headline: "Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon."

But those two men were quickly identified by the amateur sleuths over at Reddit, who quickly located the man in the blue track suit as a high school track athlete, and both were spotted after the blast with their bags.

He has since changed his name on Facebook, but "blue tracksuit guy" is a Moroccan-American who plays soccer and works at Subway.

"Blue tracksuit guy" said on Facebook he was reaching out to the FBI to affirm his innocence.

CBS's John Miller confirmed the two men were not the suspects sought by authorities.

Redditors have made it a mission to pool their sleuthing skills to identify the innocent among the photos circulating of people with black bags at the marathon.

So far, they have "cleared" include these two men, likely some kind of law enforcement, this guy, and this guy.

Update: 3 p.m.

Salah Barhoun, 17, one of the teens on the cover of the Post, spoke to ABC News in an attempt to clear his name.

Bahoun, said he had wanted to run the race, but when he was unable, decided to come watch.

Bahoun's brother, who wished not to be identified, told ABC their mother was "sick and upset" over the confusion.

"It made her think he had done something wrong," the teen's younger brother said. "My brother is not the bomber."

Update 2: 4:20 p.m.

The Post has released a follow-up story Thursday afternoon, although it made no apology for featuring Bahoun and his friend on the paper's cover.

"Authorities determined neither had any information or role in Monday’s attacks at the Boston Marathon," the story said.

The photo was one of many circulated among law enforcement officials as the investigation to find the bombing perpetrators gets underway.

The Post said its sources "have now cleared the two men."

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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A man carries an American Flag up Boylston Street towards the scene of yesterday's bombing in Boston, Massachusetts on April 16, 2013. Security is still high in the city after two bombs detonated on Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon killing 3 and injuring 150. UPI/Matthew HealeyA man places a Boston Red Sox that at the make shift memorial that he has helped keep organized in response to Monday's Boston Marathon bombing on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts on April 17, 2013. On Monday two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing 3 and injuring over 140. UPI/Matthew Healey
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