NYPD finds man wanted after 3 rice cookers found in Manhattan

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The NYPD was searching for a person of interest in connection with two rice cookers found inside a lower Manhattan subway station Friday.

The NYPD says it has found Larry Griffin, 26, of West Virginia, for questioning in connection with two rice cookers found inside a lower Manhattan subway station Friday.

The empty rice cookers lead to an evacuation of the Fulton St. subway station at about 7 a.m. and the disruption of several subway lines at the height of the morning commute.

Senior NYPD official John Miller said Griffin was seen on video taking the rice cookers out of a shopping cart and leaving them on the ground.

"He places the pressure cooker on the upper level and then on the lower level," said Miller. "Not a suspect but certainly someone we want to speak with. Because of the timing and the placement of the items, we're carrying this right now as a hoax device. That's the investigative category. But we need to identify him, talk with him. We need more information from him."

At around 9 a.m., police reported they were on the scene of a third pressure cooker about two miles away in the area of West 16th St. and 7th Ave. Less than an hour later, it was also deemed to be safe.

"It is possible that somebody put out a bunch of items in the trash today and this guy picked them up and discarded them. It is possible that this was an intentional act, and we have a couple of steps to go," said Miller. 

The Fulton St. subway station was evacuated at around 7 a.m. after police were notified of reports of two suspicious devices on a platform.

"Our @NYPDCT Bomb Squad has cleared the devices inside of Fulton Street subway station in Lower Manhattan. They are NOT explosive devices. Out of an abundance of caution officers have searched nearby stations," wrote the NYPD Counterterrorism division via Twitter.

"The suspicion is that they were placed there to suggest that they were electronic devices and possible bombs," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a local radio station. 

All three cookers were the same make, year and model. They were found to be harmless.

A West Virginia sheriff's department says the man suspected of placing two devices that looked like pressure cookers in a New York City subway station has a criminal history in the state.

The Logan County Sheriff's Department identified the man taken into police custody Saturday in New York as Larry Kenton Griffin II, of Bruno, West Virginia.

The sheriff's department says it has arrested the 26-year-old at least three times in the past eight years, including one in 2017 alleging he sent obscene material to a minor.

The sheriff's department says a warrant for Griffin's arrest was issued in March after he missed drug screenings as part of pretrial supervision.

Pressure cookers have been used to make bombs in the past.

In 2013, pressure cookers packed with explosives killed three people and injured hundreds when a pair of Islamic extremists detonated them during the Boston Marathon.

In September 2016, a pressure-cooker bomb went off in Chelsea, injuring 30 people. 

In 2017, would-be suicide attacker Akayed Ullah set off a homemade pipe bomb in an underground passageway at the Times Square subway station during rush hour, seriously injuring himself. 

SkyFox was overhead the Fulton St. station as a large police response was visible from the street as well as outside the William St. station.

As a result of the investigation, subway service was suspended on the No.2 and No. 3 lines.

The 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J and Z trains were skipping Fulton St.

 

Twitter user @_i_Ruben_ shared photos that appeared to be from the scene as it unfolded at about 7 a.m.. @_i_Ruben_ wrote that he was aboard a subway car when it was evacuated at Fulton St.

 

 

With the Associated Press