St Patrick’s suspect with gas can, lighter fluid had booked hotel near Vatican: prosecutor

NEW YORK — The college philosophy teacher accused of entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan with gasoline cans, lighter fluid and butane lighters had also booked a hotel just 20 minutes from the Vatican, a New York prosecutor said Wednesday.

Police previously said that Marc Lamparello had booked a flight to Rome for the next day.

Assistant District Attorney David Stuart said during a brief court hearing that Lamparello was “planning to burn down St. Patrick’s Cathedral” when he was arrested last week.

The prosecutor made no further remarks about the Rome plans but referred to Lamparello as a flight risk. He said Lamparello had spent “considerable time planning and surveilling” St. Patrick’s before his arrest.

Lamparello of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, made his initial court appearance from a hospital. The judge ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

The New York incident happened just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a blaze police blamed on an electrical short circuit.

Stuart noted during the brief hearing that Lamparello faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of attempted arson and reckless endangerment.

He indicated that prosecutors will seek to have Lamparello held on $500,000 bond pending trial.

Lamparello has worked part time at New York City’s Lehman College and as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

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