NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - The NYPD says it has taken Larry Griffin, 26, of West Virginia, into custody 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.
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.
Police stressed at a news conference on Friday that it wasn't clear if the Griffin was trying to frighten people or merely throwing the objects away.
"I would stop very short of calling him a suspect," said John Miller, the New York Police Department's top counterterror official.
"It is possible that somebody put out a bunch of items in the trash today and this guy picked them up and then discarded them, or it's possible that this was an intentional act."
Police sources described Griffin as emotionally disturbed and homeless, living at a home in the Bronx with someone who was allegedly feeding his drug habit.
The Logan County Sheriff's Department in West Virginia said it has arrested Griffin, 26, at least three times in the past eight years, including a 2017 arrest on charges alleging he sent obscene material to a minor.
Griffin's cousin Tara Brumfield told a Huntington, West Virginia, television station that he is a good person who has been dealing with mental health issues.
Offering a possible explanation for his involvement with the rice cookers, she said Griffin has a habit of picking up items in one place and putting them down in another.
"Whether it's tools or a fishing pole or something like that like he'll pick up one thing and leave it there and then pick up another and then leave it there and I've watched him do stuff like that a bunch of times," she told the station, WSAZ-TV.
Speaking to FOX 5 NY, Griffin's father called his son a "good kid."
Griffin was taken to Linclon Hospital on Saturday morning. He has not yet been charged.
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