According to a new report from The New York Times, an attempt at concealing illicit gas siphoning may have immediately preceded the building explosion that killed two people and injured 22 more in the East Village last week.

Citing law enforcement sources, the paper says investigators have a "working theory" that a gas siphoning device was dismantled before utility inspectors visited the building on Thursday and unsuccessfully restored afterward, causing the explosion.

While gas line tampering has previously been suggested as a cause of the explosion, the new report offers a chilling timeline putting the blast almost immediately after the departure of the inspectors. From the Times:

New York City officials said that Con Edison's inspectors left 121 Second Avenue around 2:45 p.m., after finding fault with plumbing work in the basement but no signs of leaking gas or other safety concerns. They deemed the building unprepared to receive gas through the bigger pipe, so they left the head of that pipe locked.

Half an hour later, an explosion blew the building apart, killing two men who had been inside Sushi Park and starting a fire that spread to three neighboring buildings.

According to Newsday, law enforcement sources say it could take "several weeks and possibly a year" to fully investigate the explosion and decide what criminal charges, if any, are appropriate.

[Image via AP Images]