WJAX – Jacksonville
ELIZABETH, N.J. — One of the homeless men called a hero for finding and reporting a backpack that held multiple bombs has been rewarded with a new home and job prospect.
Lee Parker and Ivan White spotted a brand new backpack near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey last weekend. According to the Independent, Parker had needed a backpack for an upcoming job interview. He had been homeless for several years and carried his belongings in a plastic bag.
When Parker and White picked up the backpack and looked inside, they found something suspicious.
“I said, ‘We need to go to the police station right now because this is a bomb,'” Parker told WABC. “It wasn’t the cartoon bomb with a tick-tock tick-tock clock but it had wires. I had seen enough pictures of pipe bombs and different devices in books, magazines. I knew what I was looking at as soon as I saw it.”
When the F.B.I. sent in a pair a robots, they determined the backpack held five bombs. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was ultimately arrested in connection with the bombs, along with the bombings in Manhattan and Seaside Park, New Jersey.
When commended for their actions in finding and reporting the backpack, Parker and White say they were just looking out for their community, just like any other citizen would.
“Hero? No. I wouldn’t go that far. I was doing the right thing,” said Parker.
According to the Independent, Parker never made his job interview that day because he was being questioned by police. Fortunately, the Independent reports that Parker has been contacted by a large food company based in Elizabeth about a possible job offer.
Local Elizabeth resident Donald Goncalves has reportedly become a spokesperson for both Parker and White, starting a GoFundMe page that has already tripled its $10,000 goal. According to the GoFundMe page, the money raised will be split three ways between Parker, White and the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.
According to the GoFundMe, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless has already helped Parker find a temporary home. Now, they’re working on permanent housing for him.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez