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Man arrested carrying gasoline into St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York: police

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The suspect is known to police who are currently looking into his background

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.

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Police said the man pulled up to the 19th century Roman Catholic cathedral on 5th Avenue in a minivan and walked around the area before returning to his vehicle and bringing the inflammatory materials into the church.

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

Some gasoline was spilled on the floor of the cathedral as the man was confronted by police, but no fire was ignited at any point during the incident.

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

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“We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas and at that point he was taken into custody,” Miller told a press conference on the steps of the cathedral, a neo-Gothic structure in the heart of Manhattan.

Investigators said the man, whose identity has not been made public, was known to police.

“We don’t know what his mindset was, what his motive was,” Miller said.

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No charges have yet been confirmed.

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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The incident came just days after a fire ripped through the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, gutting the 850-year-old gothic masterpiece.

Investigators have begun their probe into the cause of the blaze. It is suspected that renovations that had been underway at the cathedral accidentally triggered the inferno.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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