Officials: St. Patrick’s Cathedral suspect previously detained at Newark church

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

A Bergen County man accused of walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral with cans of gasoline and lighters had been arrested at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark earlier this week.

The Essex County Sherriff’s Office confirms that Marc Lamparello, 37, was arrested for trespassing after he refused to leave the Newark church Monday night when it was closing.

Lamparello was arrested two days later in Manhattan after he allegedly walked into St. Patrick’s with two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters. The NYPD has charged him with attempted arson, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

Police say Lamparello, of Hasbrouck Heights, was confronted by a cathedral security officer when he entered the church and was told he couldn't bring the items inside.

The security officer notified officers from the counterterrorism bureau who were standing outside.

RELATED: NYPD: NJ man arrested after walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral with gas cans 

 Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, says security at St. Patrick's is always ready. 

"Last night proves that it works,” says Dolan. “We've got a very well trained interior security staff.  We have the constant help of the New York Police Department who usually has an officer on the block for ready assistance, the ready attention of the fire department of New York so it works and last night showed that."

Authorities also say that Lamparello had booked a one-way ticket to Rome.

Neighbors tell News 12 New Jersey that Lamparello lived with his parents and that they were all religious.

“We’ve known them for over 30 years that we’ve lived here,” said one neighbor who did not wish to be identified. “They’re wonderful people, wonderful family. They were never a problem.”

Lamparello was an online instructor at Lehman College in the Bronx. A spokeswoman for the college says that Lamparello was hired during this academic year and was part-time. The spokeswoman says that the college is taking steps to terminate his employment.

Authorities have not yet released a possible motive for the incident.

This comes a few days after a massive fire damaged the historic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. A cause for that fire has not yet been determined.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

 

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