WOODLAND PARK, N.J. – The same day a fire nearly destroyed Notre Dame Cathedral, a New Jersey man was arrested for allegedly refusing to leave a New Jersey church.
Just two days later, that same man, Marc Lamparello, was arrested in St. Patrick's Cathedral, in New York, carrying two gas cans, two bottles of lighter fluid and two lighters, police said.
Lamparello had purchased a one-way ticket to Rome that was scheduled to depart Newark, New Jersey, on Thursday evening. But Thursday, he was in police custody.
Here's what we know.
How he was found in St. Patrick's
At about 8 p.m. Wednesday, Lamparello walked into the cathedral with four gallons of gasoline, lighter fluid and lighters, police said.
When he was stopped by security and told he could not come in with those items, Lamparello put one of the cans down, spilling some gasoline on the floor. When he left, the usher alerted the counterterrorism bureau critical response command striker team.
During questioning Wednesday night, Lamparello told police his minivan had run out of gas and that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue, police said. When police checked Lamparello's car, it was not out of gas, police said.
The incident does not appear to be terrorism-related, said John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism of the New York City Police Department. At no point did Lamparello refer to the Notre Dame fire, police said.
Who is Marc Lamparello?
Lamparello, 37, is a college professor who lives in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. He graduated from Boston College, police said. He is currently a City University of New York (CUNY) student seeking a Ph.D. in philosophy.
Lamparello lives with his parents, said Dolores, his mother. A family friend Salvatore Altomare described the Lamparellos as a good, religious family.
Lamparello was not always at that home, but Altomare recalled him and his brother Adam going with their parents to St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in East Rutherford. To Altomare, there were no hints of dysfunction in Lamparello.
Lamparello was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University and part-time professor at Lehman College.
A Seton Hall spokeswoman said he started in spring 2018 but is no longer part of the faculty, though she could not confirm whether he has been fired.
Lamparello taught online at Lehman starting in the 2018-19 academic year.
Although Altomare described the family as devoutly Catholic, Lamparello's mother Dolores described the family as "regular Catholics."
One-way ticket to Rome
While it is unclear why Lamparello went into St. Patrick's Cathedral and what he would have done had he not been apprehended, he had already canceled class and had booked a flight out of the country.
Lamparello had purchased a $2,800 one-way airplane ticket to Rome, from Newark Liberty International Airport. The flight was scheduled to leave Thursday evening.
He also was scheduled to teach at Seton Hall on Wednesday night but canceled through an email that said he was sick, according to Seton Hall's student newspaper, The Setonian.
Previous church incident
Lamparello's arrest in New York was just two days after he was arrested for reportedly refusing to leave the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.
At about 10 p.m. Monday, Lamparello arrived at the cathedral, removed his cap, made the sign of the cross, and sat down in one of the front pews, said Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura.
When officers approached Lamparello later in the night, Lamparello refused to leave, despite repeated requests, Fontoura said.
Even after an assistant bishop and a priest held special prayers with Lamparello, he refused to leave, throwing himself on the floor and telling police that the only way he would leave was in handcuffs.
Lamparello was ultimately charged with trespassing, obstructing the administration of law and resisting arrest, Fontoura said. He was due in court May 1.
Follow Rodrigo Torrejon on Twitter: @rod_torrejon
This article originally appeared on North Jersey Record: Man arrested in St. Patrick's Cathedral case had bought one-way ticket to Rome