Just two days after the blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, Marc Lamparello, 37, of New Jersey, was apprehended in the Midtown church on Wednesday “with the flammable paraphernalia, but was quickly intercepted by church security, law enforcement sources said” according to the New York Post.
“He turned around, but spilled some gas in the process, prompting the guards to alert counter-terrorism cops stationed outside the church.
“When questioned, Lamparello claimed he was simply cutting through the church to get to Madison Avenue because his van, which was parked outside on Fifth Avenue, ran out of gas, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said at a press conference outside St Pat’s Wednesday night.”
This claim turned out to be bogus as Lamparello’s vehicle was not actually out of fuel. Moreover, his “answers were inconsistent and evasive, although he remained conversational with them [the authorities],” the Post reported.
Miller told the newspaper, “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.”
Lamparello was arrested on the spot and charged with attempted arson and reckless endangerment. According to Miller the “surveillance camera footage showed Lamparello circling St. Patrick’s several times in a minivan well over an hour before he parked outside the cathedral on Fifth Avenue, walked around the area, returned to his vehicle, and retrieved the gasoline and lighter fluid”.
The professor had also booked a flight to Rome, the New York Police Department said. He teaches philosophy at New York City’s Lehman and Brooklyn colleges and Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
Lehman has terminated his tenure. “The individual was hired at Lehman College during this academic year, and was a part-time, online instructor this semester,” Lehman College spokesperson said in a statement. “We are taking the appropriate steps to terminate the individual’s employment with the college.”