Man is in custody for questioning in NYC bomb scare

Sommer Brokaw

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Larry Griffin, a man who has a criminal past, is in custody Saturday for questioning about three rice cookers that sparked a bomb scare in New York City.

A senior law enforcement official told WNBC that Griffin, a homeless man in New York with family from West Virginia, was a person of interest.


Though he was taken into custody by police Saturday, he is not under arrest, a police source said.

New York Police Department Commissioner John Miller said at a new conference that Griffin was not a suspect, "but certainly someone we want to interview."

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Griffin was seen pushing a shopping cart near Fulton Street subways station where two rice cookers were found during the bomb scare in Manhattan on Friday morning over the "suspicious items" which turned out to be rice cookers.

The third rice cooker was found in Chelsea, next to a trash can, and although investigation into whether all three were connected is ongoing, authorities said that all devices were the same make and model.

New York Police Department Police Chief Terence Monahan released surveillance photos of Griffin on Friday morning as police sought to question him "in regard to the suspicious items."

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Several weeks ago Griffin was arrested on a drug possession charge in Harlem, a law enforcement official said.

The Logan County Sheriff's Office in West Virginia posted on Facebook that officers there helped contact relatives in West Virginia after the FBI Task Force in New York contacted them.

The sheriff's post added that "Griffin has a history of criminal activity."

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Griffin has been arrested by the sheriff's department at least three times within the past eight years, the post said. Charges range from possession of a controlled substance involving weapons to use of obscene material to seduce a minor. He was indicted in 2017 for the latter charge.

There is also currently an active warrant for his arrest that was issued in March due to his failure to report for missing drug screens as part of his pre-trial bond supervision.

His father, Larry Griffin, Sr., told WNBC his son was a panhandler in New York, and he had not seen his son in awhile, but would occasionally call him.

Griffin told family members he found three rice cookers in front of an Asian restaurant, relatives told police, and he only took them because he collects things he finds on the street.


NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tweeted that the investigation continues.

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