Just days after the Notre Dame Cathedral burned on national television, police may have foiled a plot for another fire.
MANHATTAN, New York – A man was arrested and taken into custody this week after police say he tried to enter NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying gasoline, lighter fluid, and lighters.
Authorities were alerted to the fact that the man had been trying to enter the Manhattan church on Wednesday night. A security officer working the grounds approached the man and told him he couldn’t be on Cathedral property with the gear he was carrying.
The man was identified as 37-year old Marc Lamparello from New Jersey. According to the reports, the man is a student at CUNY earning his Ph.D. in philosophy and was an adjunct lecturer at Lehman College.
After the security guard told Lamparello that he couldn’t enter with all of the items he was carrying, “some gasoline apparently spilled out onto the floor as he’s turned around,” Deputy Commissioner of counterintelligence and counterterrorism John Miller said. “The St. Patrick’s employee notified CRC critical response command from the Counterterrorism Bureau. Police officers from our Stryker team who are outside that the individual went south on Fifth Avenue and onto 15th Street.”
We are investigating an incident at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Expect a heavy police presence.
Update to follow.
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) April 18, 2019
Counterterrorism NYPD officers responded to the scene just after 8pm. NYC residents were told to expect a ‘heavy police presence’ in the area.
According to reports, when the suspect was questioned as to his motives, he claimed that his car was parked on the other side of the building and he was just using it to cross through. As for the reason behind the gasoline and other flammable liquids, the man told police that his car was out of gas.
Police later checked the suspect’s car to verify his story. His tank was not empty.
“His answers were inconsistent and evasive although he remained conversational with them and cooperative, his basic story was that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue — that his car had run out of gas,” said Miller. “We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas and at that point he was taken into custody and brought to the Midtown North Station House.”
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“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,” he said.
Around 7:55pm, a man walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan with gas cans and lighter fluid, and was subsequently apprehended by @NYPDCT without incident. We thank our partners for their help, and remember – if you see something, say something. pic.twitter.com/qEbmklnqzQ
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 18, 2019
Fox 61 stated that, “a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York said an “individual was stopped as he tried to come into the cathedral.” The man was turned over to the police and nothing happened inside the cathedral, according to the spokesperson.” The iconic building was originally built in 1878.
This comes just days after a tragic fire broke out in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The cause of the fire is still being investigated but authorities do not suspect arson or terrorism. Some people are speculating that the fire may have had something to do with the restoration work that was being done on the stone structure, and workers as well as Cathedral employees are being questioned by investigators.
France is paying a daylong tribute to the firefighters who saved the Notre Dame Cathedral. https://t.co/dSM8goQ2Dr
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 18, 2019
Nearly $500,000 has already been raised in online campaigns to help rebuild the historic church, sparking donations for burned churches in Louisiana.
After Notre Dame fire, viral tweet helps raise $1.8 million for black churches burned down in Louisiana https://t.co/UpsXeUNFd8 pic.twitter.com/LqadWzcNXO
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 18, 2019
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