Even in a neighborhood packed with immigrants, all with their own customs, languages, foods and idiosyncrasies, there was something about Sayfullo Saipov and his family that seemed not quite right.
With the benefit of hindsight, neighbors now believe that the 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant was plotting an attack long before he allegedly plowed his rented truck down a bicycle path in Lower Manhattan, killing eight people.
Three weeks before Tuesday’s attack, a neighbor had noticed that Saipov frequently rented trucks like the one used in the attack.
“This is the kind of truck you use for construction, but he wasn’t doing construction,’’ said Carlos Batista, 23, who noticed that one of the trucks was parked outside a vacant building nearby for nearly a week. “Why would you spend the money to rent this kind of truck and just leave it outside if you’re not using it? … Now I think he was practicing.”
Others were uncomfortable with Saipov’s wife, who wore a niqab, a Muslim garment that reveals only the eyes. Other women among the many Muslims in the neighborhood wear simple head scarves, neighbors say.
“It was unusual around here. You could only see the eyes’’ said Dolores Stanton Vargas, 59, who lives across the street from the neighborhood mosque.