NEW YORK – A man was taken into custody after he tried to enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan with several gallons of gasoline on Wednesday night.
He tried to bring the gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and extended butane lighters controlled by a trigger into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, police said. A security officer confronted the man and told him he could not bring all of that in. Some gasoline appears to have spilled on the floor.
The man later said he was just cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue and that his car had run out of gas, officials said. Police checked his vehicle; it was not out of gas.
Five police vehicles were seen out front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Counterterrorism NYPD officers were at the scene.
People were told to expect a heavy police presence in the area.
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.
This comes just days after a devastating fire at Notre Dame in Paris. The spire at the cathedral collapsed as Parisian firefighters battled that massive blaze.