First laugh for the morning

Fight Club ‘inspired Starbucks bomber’

16th July 2009, 4:40 WST

A 17-year-old mimicking Brad Pitt’s Fight Club character, who planned attacks on corporate America, was arrested for masterminding a pre-dawn blast outside a Starbucks Coffee shop in New York.Kyle Shaw was arrested Tuesday night on charges of arson, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Wednesday.

He was awaiting arraignment on Wednesday.

The May 25 explosion near the Guggenheim Museum on New York City’s Upper East Side shattered the store’s windows but caused no injuries, and police do not believe it is related to other explosions around the city in the past four years: at the British Consulate in May 2005, the Mexican Consulate in October 2007 and the Times Square military recruiting station in March 2008.

Kelly said Shaw was trying to emulate the character named Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, from the 1999 film about a nameless and spineless pencil pusher, played by Ed Norton, who takes up with the dangerous yet manly Durden.

The two take part in a secret “fight club,” where men beat one another to a pulp.

Shaw formed his own fight club in which boys beat one another in various locales around the city including Central Park, Kelly said. At least one member got a broken nose, he said.

The second, more dastardly plot hatched by Pitt’s character in the film was called “project mayhem” and included escalating attacks on symbols of corporate America.

Shaw apparently told at least one friend to “watch the news over Memorial Day” – a federal holiday at the end of May – because he was about to launch his own version of “project mayhem,” Kelly said. Investigators are looking into whether more people might have been involved.

Police say the suspect picked the site because a Starbucks was a target in the movie. It wasn’t clear why the specific coffee shop was chosen. There are dozens around the city.

The blast occurred around 3.30am. A witness reported seeing two people, one blonde, running from the scene.

The device, made of fireworks powder, a plastic bottle, a metal cap and electrical tape, was set off with a hand-lit fuse.

Investigators recovered homemade bomb materials, a copy of Fight Club, a box of sparklers and a newspaper clipping about the attack from Shaw’s home, Kelly said.

Investigators are still working to identify suspects in the other blasts and believe they were caused by the same person or group of people, Kelly said.

In those bombings, a lone bicyclist was seen in the area before the blasts, caused by either phony grenades or canisters packed with explosive powder. No was hurt in those blasts, either.

The Starbucks Corp has said it didn’t believe its store was hit intentionally and didn’t immediately return an email message on Tuesday.