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The man seen placing rice cookers around downtown New York is in custody, police say

NEW YORK — The man who police say is seen on video dropping off rice cookers Friday in Manhattan was arrested and charged Saturday, according to an New York Police Department news release.

Larry Griffin, 26, has been charged with three counts of placing a false bomb, the release said.

Three rice cookers, initially described as suspicious devices, were discovered Friday morning in downtown Manhattan, prompting a brief scare and causing delays during the busy morning subway commute. All the devices were ultimately deemed safe. NYPD Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell told CNN that Griffin is implicated in all three rice cooker discoveries.

The first two suspicious appliances were found empty at the Fulton Street subway complex, NYPD Chief of Transit Edward Delatorre said Friday. A third empty rice cooker was found at West 16th Street and 7th Avenue, where it had been put out with the garbage.

Police video taken at the subway complex showed a white man in his 20s or 30s with dark hair and a shopping cart leaving two rice cookers at that scene, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said Friday.

“Obviously, we would like to speak to this person,” Miller said, adding that he would not call the individual “a suspect.”

“I don’t know what the deliberate act is,” he said, “whether it was to create fear and alarm on the part of the public, or whether he was discarding items he was no longer interested in.”

Pressure cookers have previously been used in terrorist attacks, including in the 2016 bombing in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

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