NJ Man Arrested After Trying to Bring Gas Cans, Lighter Fluid, Lighters Into St. Patrick's Cathedral: Police - NBC New York

Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

NJ Man Arrested After Trying to Bring Gas Cans, Lighter Fluid, Lighters Into St. Patrick's Cathedral: Police

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York said the man was stopped as he tried to enter the cathedral

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NJ Man Tried to Bring Gas Cans Into St. Patrick's: NYPD

    A New Jersey man was taken into custody after he tried to walk into St. Patrick's Cathedral with two gasoline cans, two bottles of lighter fluid and two lighters, police said. Michael George reports.

    (Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019)

    What to Know

    • A man was taken into custody after he tried to walk into St. Patrick's with two gasoline cans, two bottles of lighter fluid and two lighters

    • The New Jersey resident said he'd been carrying the items because his car had run out of gas, but there was gas in his car, police said

    • The NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism said it was too early to say what the man's motive was

    UPDATE: Man Found With Gas Cans at St. Patrick's Was Arrested at NJ Cathedral Days Earlier, Sources Say

    A New Jersey man was taken into custody late Wednesday after he tried to walk into St. Patrick's Cathedral with two gasoline cans, two bottles of lighter fluid and two lighters, police said.

    The 37-year-old man, identified by law enforcement sources as Marc Lamparello, parked a minivan on Fifth Avenue around 7:55 p.m. Wednesday, the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said at a press conference. 

    After walking around the area, Lamparello returned to the minivan, where he pulled out two 2-gallon cans of gasoline, a plastic bag with two bottles of lighter fluid inside, and two extended lighters, Miller said. 

    Lamparello tried to walk into the cathedral with the items, but a security guard stopped him, according to Miller. 

    Some gasoline spilled out onto the floor of the cathedral as Lamparello was leaving, Miller said. 

    The guard notified two counterterrorism officers posted outside the cathedral about the incident as Lamparello tried to walk away. 

    When the officers caught up to the New Jersey resident and started questioning him, he gave them "inconsistent and evasive" answers as to why he'd been carrying the gas cans and other items.

    "His basic story was that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue. [He said] his car had run out of gas," Miller said. 

    When police searched Lamparello's vehicle, however, they discovered it wasn't out of gas. He was taken into custody soon after and hasn't yet been charged, according to Miller. 

    Notre Dame Fire: What Went Wrong?

    [NY] Notre Dame Fire: What Went Wrong?

    Investigators are trying to determine how a fire broke out at Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, and how it got out of control so quickly. Pei-Sze Cheng reports from Paris.

    (Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019)

    Miller said it was too early to say whether terror was being considered as a motive.

    "It's hard to say 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," he said. 

    Heightened security at St. Patrick's is normal, but the NYPD has ramped up its efforts at the cathedral since the fire that tore through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday, Miller noted.

    $1 Billion Raised to Rebuild Paris' Notre Dame After Fire

    [NY] $1 Billion Raised to Rebuild Paris' Notre Dame After Fire
    Notre Dame Cathedral would have burned to the ground in a “chain-reaction collapse” had firefighters not moved as rapidly as they did to battle the blaze racing through the beloved landmark building, a French government official said Wednesday, as nearly $1 billion in pledges poured in toward the rebuilding effort. Firefighters acted aggressively to protect wooden supports in the twin medieval bell towers from the flames, averting a bigger catastrophe, said José Vaz de Matos, a fire expert with France’s Culture Ministry. “If the fire reached this wooden structure, the bell tower would have been lost,” de Matos said at a news conference. “From the moment we lose the war of the bell towers, we lose the cathedral, because it’s a chain-reaction collapse.” Monday’s fire destroyed most of the lead roof of the 950-year-old architectural treasure and caused its spire, which was added in the 19th century, to collapse.
    (Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019)

    Police initially said Lamparello may have been emotionally disturbed. Miller said he is "known to police." 

    A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York confirmed that Lamparello was stopped as he tried to enter the cathedral. 

    "Nothing happened inside the cathedral," the spokesman said.

    Yesenia D'Alessandro via AP

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