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NYPD searching for man who placed rice cookers in subway, causing scare

Two suspicious packages reported in a New York City subway station during Friday’s morning rush and a third in another location a short time later were all determined to be empty rice cookers and not explosives, police said.

The New York City Police Department is looking to talk with a West Virginia man who can be seen on surveillance video placing one rice cooker on the mezzanine and another on the platform of the Fulton Street Subway station in Manhattan’s Financial District.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism John Miller said the man, identified by his father as Larry Griffin, who is described as white with dark hair and in his 20s or 30s, is “not a suspect, but certainly somebody we want to interview.”

A senior law enforcement official also confirmed the identity of the person of interest, according to NBC New York.

The NYPD is looking to locate and identify this individual who’s wanted for questioning in regard to the suspicious items inside the Fulton Street subway station Friday morning in Lower Manhattan.Chief Terence Monahan / via Twitter

A passenger reported the two cookers in the Fulton Street station to police at about 7 a.m. Friday, police said. The NYPD had advised people to avoid the station and the surrounding area, but by about 8:20, the department’s counterterrorism bureau assured the cookers were “NOT explosive devices.”

The investigation caused subway delays for morning commuters. An hour later, all but two train lines were stopping again at Fulton Street.

A third rice cooker, found at 16th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood later in the morning, was of the same make, model and year of the two found at the subway station. That rice cooker appeared to have been taken out with the trash, police said.

The NYPD Bomb Squad investigated – and then cleared – these devices found Friday at the Fulton Street subway station.New York Police Dept.

It’s “possible that somebody put out a bunch of items in the trash today and this guy picked them up and then discarded them,” Miller said during a Friday morning news conference. “As you all know, there are people with shopping carts who pick things up on the street and place them back on the street, and that’s kind of a factor of urban life.”

Miller acknowledged that the rice cookers could easily be mistaken for pressure cookers, and the man might have deposited them at the train station “to create fear and alarm in the public.”

In 2016, Ahmad Khan Rahimi left a pressure cooker bomb on 23rd Street and another on 27th Street in Chelsea. The one on 23rd detonated, injuring dozens of people, while the second device never exploded. Rahimi is serving life in prison.

Miller applauded New Yorkers and first responders for reacting correctly to what could have been a threat, noting “mass transit has been a global target.”

“Everybody did what they were supposed to do, and this went the way it was supposed to go,” Miller said.


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