A New Jersey man arrested after entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying cans of gasoline and lighter fluid has been identified as philosophy professor Marc Lamparello, according to a report.
The suspect arrived Wednesday night in a minivan outside the landmark cathedral on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, walked around the area, then returned to his vehicle at 7:55 p.m. EST and retrieved the gasoline, lighter fluid, and butane lighters, said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller.
“As he enters the cathedral he’s confronted by a cathedral security officer who asks him where he’s going and informs him he can’t proceed into the cathedral carrying these things,” said Miller. “At that point, some gasoline apparently spills out onto the floor as he’s turned around.”
Security then notified officers from the counter-terrorism bureau who were standing outside, Miller said. The officers caught up to the man and arrested him after he was questioned.
“His basic story was he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue. That his car had run out of gas,” said the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism. “We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas and at that point he was taken into custody.”
He continued: “It’s hard to say exactly what his intentions were, but I think the totality of circumstances of an individual walking into an iconic location like St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid, and lighters is something that we would have great concern over. His story is not consistent.”
Miller said the suspect is known to police, who are currently looking further into his background.