"A Scary Feeling": Terror Plot Arrests Shake NY Neighborhood - NBC Bay Area
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"A Scary Feeling": Terror Plot Arrests Shake NY Neighborhood

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    Terror Plot Arrests Shake Queens Neighbors

    The arrests of two Queens women on charges they plotted to build a homemade bomb and wage a terror attack has shaken their neighbors in South Jamaica. Michael George reports. (Published Thursday, April 2, 2015)

    The arrests of two Queens women on charges they plotted to build a homemade bomb and wage a terror attack has shaken their neighbors in South Jamaica. 

    "Why are you gonna come over here and try to kill us? What did we do?" said one neighbor on Inwood Street named Sandy, who was in tears as she learned of the arrests of the women next who once lived next door, Noelle Velentzas, 28, and former roommate Asia Siddiqui, 31. Siddiqui still lives in the neighborhood. 

    "It hurts, it really hurts that you want to hurt us," she said. 

    Krishna Jagroo lives across the street from Velentzas and said he was there when agents raided her home Thursday.

    "I know something has to be wrong, being FBI agents -- it has be something in the nature of terrorists or something," he said. 

    But even after hearing the allegations, he finds it hard to believe a terror plot was being worked up where he lives.

    "No way. Not under my nose right here," he said. 

    Velentzas, who investigators say is married with a child, and Siddiqui are accused of conspiring to detonate an explosive device somewhere within the U.S.

    The two suspects allegedly discussed possible targets online but there was no specific terror plot and no active explosive device, one official familiar with the case said.

    Investigators allege Siddiqui was in possession of multiple propane tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform those tanks into explosive devices, at the time of her arrest, according to a criminal complaint.

    "It's crazy that you live in a neighborhood and you wouldn't know, so I'm pretty terrified right now," said Aaron Robles. 

    Neighbors say the diverse blocks of mixed religions and backgrounds in South Jamaica include a devout Muslim population but the idea of a terror plot originating there is unimaginable. 

    "It's a scary feeling, especially when you have children," said Delicia Johnson. "It's a scary feeling."  

    One neighbor said the only sign of trouble at one of the suspects' homes was the sound of arguing.

    "Both of them used to be cursing at one another a lot," said neighbor Jean Morris. "Way up the street, you could hear their voice." 

    But no neighbor said they ever heard either of the suspects saying anything about hating America or referring to jihad or terrorism.  

    "It's really frightening to know what's going on around the world today, and this is so close to me?" Jagroo said. 

    "I'm not sure what to believe," he said. 

    No one answered at the homes of the two women Thursday night. 

    York College said in a statement that Siddiqui attended the school in Jamaica and graduated in 2011. 

    Experts say there have been women looking to join ISIS overseas but this case is different. 

    "We have not seen women essentially creating a whole terrorist plot themselves," said NBC News terror analyst Bob Windrem. "That is very different and that is a whole new chapter."