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NJ man charged with arson over gas cans

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A man was arrested in New York City after he tried to enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral with gas cans and lighter fluid.
USA TODAY

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. – Two days after refusing to leave a Newark cathedral, a New Jersey man entered St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and at least one butane lighter on Wednesday, authorities said.

Marc Lamparello, 37, was charged Thursday with attempted arson, the New York Police Department said.

The incident comes days after flames ravaged the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and two . 

Lamparello, from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, was stopped Wednesday by security when he went inside the church at about 8 p.m., said John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, during a news conference. He has an unrelated criminal case pending and was “known to police.”

Lamparello was charged with attempted arson, reckless endangerment and trespassing, according to an NYPD tweet.

Lamparello lives in a two-story home with his father, Lenny, and mother, Dolores, according to Salvatore Altomare, who has known the family for years. Altomare, who is from Hasbrouck Heights, described the Lamparellos as a good, religious family.

To Altomare, there were no hints of dysfunction in Lamparello.

“He came in and out,” said Altomare. “He wasn’t at the scene all the time. I just met him a couple of times. Seemed like a regular guy. Nice guy. Walked a straight line. He wasn’t weird.”

Lamparello had been charged with criminal trespassing in Newark, New Jersey, and was due in court May 1, according to court records.

Lamparello had a one-way airplane ticket to Rome, from Newark Liberty International Airport. The flight was scheduled to leave Thursday morning.

During a Wednesday news conference, Miller described the reason Lamparello gave police for entering the NYC church with gas cans. 

“His basic story was he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue, that his car had run out of gas,” Miller said. “We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas.” 

As of Thursday morning, Lamparello was being held at the New York Police Department’s Midtown North Precinct, the department’s public information office said.

Follow Keldy Ortiz and Rodrigo Torrejon on Twitter: @KeldyOrtiz and @rod_torrejon

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