Suspect in rice cooker scare charged: police

MANHATTAN — The man who police say is seen on video dropping off rice cookers in the Fulton Street subway station Friday has been charged, police confirmed Saturday.

The suspect — identified as 26-year-old Larry Kenton Griffin II — faces three counts of placing of a false bomb.

Three rice cookers, initially described as suspicious devices, were discovered Friday morning, prompting a brief scare and causing delays during the busy morning subway commute. All the devices were ultimately deemed safe.

Griffin II was found unconscious at 12:44 a.m. at 850 Rev James A. Polite Ave. in the Bronx and was taken to the hospital for treatment and observation.

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.

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.

Police say Griffin has a history of criminal activity and has been arrested by the Logan County Sheriff’s Department at least three times within the past eight years. The charges range from possession of a controlled substance involving weapons to use of obscene material to seduce a minor. Griffin was indicted by the Logan County Sheriff’s Department in 2017 for the charges of “Use of obscene matter with intent to seduce minor” and “Distribution and display to minor of obscene matter.”

Miller said the person of interest had “a shopping cart, [placed what appeared to be] a pressure cooker on the upper level, then on the lower level” of the station, in the section where the No. 2 and No. 3 trains stop.

The items were spotted by a commuter around 7 a.m. and flagged to officials, who closed the subway station as the devices were examined. It remains closed until around 8:50 A.M., with the exception of the No. 2 and No. 3 trains.

The platform for them reopened around 10 a.m.

James Ford, Jennifer Bisram, Jay Dow, Ashley Soley-Cerro, Corey Crockett and the CNN Wire contributed to this report.

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