NEW YORK — UPDATE April 18 1:08 p.m. EDT: Police say the New Jersey man arrested after entering St. Patrick's Cathedral with lighters, gas cans and lighter fluid had been in trouble with the law before.
The Associated Press reported that police said the suspect, identified as 37-year-old Marc Lamparello, has been arrested at a New Jersey cathedral a few days before his Wednesday arrest in New York. Police said Lamparello had booked a flight to Italy before he was arrested in connection to St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Lamparello is still in police custody, police said.
Original report: A 37-year-old New Jersey man is in police custody after authorities said he tried to bring gas cans, lighters and lighter fluid into New York's iconic St. Patrick's Cathedral on Wednesday night.
According to WNBC-TV, the man parked on Fifth Avenue and walked around before retrieving two 2-gallon gasoline cans, two extended butane lighters and two bottles of lighter fluid from his vehicle at 7:55 p.m., New York police told reporters late Wednesday. He then attempted to bring the items into the church, where a cathedral security officer confronted him and notified police, authorities said.
"The individual was stopped as he tried to come into the cathedral," the Archdiocese of New York said in a statement to WCBS-TV. "[He] was turned over to the police. Nothing happened inside the cathedral."
Although the man cooperated with officers, his answers were "inconsistent and evasive," said John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the New York Police Department.
"His basic story was that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue, that his car had run out of gas," Miller said. "We took a look at the vehicle; it was not out of gas."
Authorities detained the man, who is "known to police," but have not yet filed any charges against him, Miller said. Officials have not publicly released his name.
Earlier this week, a devastating fire broke out at Paris' historic Notre Dame Cathedral. Authorities believe the blaze was accidental.
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