Days after Notre Dame blaze, man arrested for carrying gasoline, lighter fluid into St Patrick's Cathedral in New York

A man was arrested Wednesday night after entering St Patrick's Cathedral in New York carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, police said, just days after a fire badly damaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Agence France-Presse April 18, 2019 15:33:54 IST
Days after Notre Dame blaze, man arrested for carrying gasoline, lighter fluid into St Patrick's Cathedral in New York
  • New York Police Department (NYPD) deputy commissioner John Miller said the arrested man claimed he was taking a shortcut through the cathedral

  • The man was confronted by a cathedral security officer and was told he cannot go inside carrying those items, according to the police

  • After an alarm was raised, officers from the NYPD's counter-terrorism bureau caught up to the man

New York: A man was arrested Wednesday night after entering St Patrick's Cathedral in New York carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, police said, just days after a fire badly damaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

New York Police Department (NYPD) deputy commissioner John Miller said the arrested man claimed he was taking a shortcut through the cathedral after his car ran out of fuel, but his answers were "inconsistent and evasive."

"We don't know what his mindset was, what his motive was," Miller told a press conference on the steps of the cathedral, a neo-Gothic structure in the heart of Manhattan.

Days after Notre Dame blaze man arrested for carrying gasoline lighter fluid into St Patricks Cathedral in New York

A file image of St Paul's Cathedral. AP

The man was confronted by a cathedral security officer and was told he cannot go inside carrying those items, according to the police.

"At that point, some gasoline apparently spills out onto the floor as he's turned around," Miller said.

After an alarm was raised, officers from the NYPD's counter-terrorism bureau caught up to the man and arrested him after questioning.

"His basic story was he was cutting through the cathedral... that his car had run out of gas," Miller said.

"We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas and at that point he was taken into custody."

Miller said the 37-year-old suspect was "known to police," who are currently looking into his background.

Construction first started on St Patrick's Cathedral in the mid-1880s and was completed in 1878, although extensions have been added over the years and a major restoration was completed in 2015.

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