Person of interest in New York City pressure cooker scare taken into custody: Police source

Regional News

(ABC NEWS) — The person of interest related to the abandoned rice cookers that caused a bomb scare in New York City has been taken into custody, a police source told ABC News Saturday morning.

Larry Griffin, of West Virginia, was apprehended by police early Saturday. The police source said Griffin, whom the NYPD identified as the person of interest Friday, was not under arrest.

The bomb scare was set off Friday morning when a subway passenger approached two NYPD counterterrorism to alert them about suspicious packages at the Fulton Street subway station in Manhattan. The items turned out to be rice cookers.

A pressure cooker at the Fulton Street subway station in Manhattan, Aug. 16, 2019, was investigated by the bomb squad. Photo: NYPD via ABC

A third suspicious package was reported near a trash can at West 16th Street and 7th Avenue, also in Manhattan, police said.

The NYPD’s bomb squad responded to both locations and deemed the cookers safe. Officials investigated whether the incidents were related.

Later in the day, police identified Griffin as a person of interest and released a picture they say was him.

At a news conference, NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said Griffin wasn’t a suspect, “but certainly someone we want to interview.”

Relatives of Griffin told police he contacted them and knows officers want to interview him, the source told ABC News. Griffin told them he didn’t know what to do, the relatives told police, according to the source.

Griffin told family members he found the three rice cookers in front of an Asian restaurant, relatives told police, and only took them because he collects items he finds on the street, the source added.

Police found Griffin in the Bronx in the predawn hours of Saturday after responding to a 911 call about two people possibly overdosing, the source said. EMS responded, and Griffin was rushed to Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.

Cell phone video obtained by ABC News appears to show Griffin in a wheelchair as emergency responders transported him.

The NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tweeted that Griffin has been apprehended and that the investigation continues.

Griffin will be treated medically before authorities can interview him about the rice cookers.

Meanwhile, the Logan County’s Sheriff’s Office in West Virginia, where Griffin has family, posted on Facebook that officers there helped contact the relatives after the FBI Joint Task Force in New York City contacted them. They had hoped to find a location in the New York City area where police could find Griffin, but the relatives didn’t know.

Griffin has told them that he lives on the streets in New York, the source told ABC News.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Office posted that Griffin has been arrested there at least three times in the past eight years for charges ranging from drugs to weapons to “obscene material to seduce a minor.” He was indicted by the Logan County Sheriff’s Department in 2017 for the latter charge, though it was not immediately clear if it resulted in a conviction.

The sheriff’s office added that there was a warrant out for Griffin’s arrest, which was issued in March, stemming from his alleged failure to report for missing drug screens as part of a pre-trial bond supervision.

Since Griffin has not been arrested, it was unclear Saturday if he has legal representation.

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