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Owner: Bombing suspect demanded his car back from shop on Tuesday

April 19, 2013|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, shown after his high school graduation, was taken into custody Friday night after a manhunt in Boston.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, shown after his high school graduation, was taken into…

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The owner of an auto body shop near the home of the Boston bombing suspects said the younger brother appeared in his  store on Tuesday, nervous and demanding his car immediately.

Two weeks ago, said 44-year-old Gilberto Junior, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had brought in a white Mercedes 1967 station wagon to have the damaged rear bumper repaired. He said it belonged to his girlfriend. 

That was not unusual: Tsarnaev often brought in cars for wealthy friends from Boston University and MIT, Junior said, and always paid in cash. 

What was strange was that the man showed up Tuesday wanting the car back early, clearly agitated. 

"He was very nervous, biting his nails, agitated," Junior said. "I thought he was on drugs, medication." Junior didn't report it to police. Tsarnaev took the Mercedes without having it fixed.

Tsarnaev's visit to Junior's Auto Body took on a new significance Friday after officials linked him to the Boston bombings. Tsarnaev was taken into custody Friday night after an overnight shooting, car chase and confrontation with police that wounded a transit officer and left Tsarnaev's brother and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer dead.

Tsarnaev's friends were all wealthy and Turkish, Junior said, and drove Range Rovers, Porsche Cayennes and BMWs.

On his last visit, the young man was wearing Louis Vuitton shoes and Burberry pants, and wore his hair shorter.

Junior used to talk to Tsarnaev about soccer, including Junior's native Brazilian team. Tsarnaev used to covet nice rims and paint jobs.

"He seemed polite," Junior said. "I didn't realize until this morning." Junior recognized the man's profile in photographs captured from surveillance footage from the 7-Eleven that officials said the Tsarnaev brothers robbed.

"I wish I knew what to tell him," Junior said. "I feel upset with myself. I wish I knew so I could do something."

The FBI interviewed Junior on Friday morning and he told them everything, he said. 

"I wish I knew Tuesday what I know today," he said. What would he have done? "I don't know."

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