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

Posted at 10:40 AM, Aug 17, 2019

The man who police say is seen on video dropping off rice cookers Friday in downtown New York was taken into custody early Saturday morning, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said.

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

The man was found unconscious around 2 a.m. ET at an address in the Bronx and is hospitalized, the source said. He was taken into custody on a previous bench warrant unrelated to Friday's incident and has not been charged in connection with the rice cookers, the source said.

The "individual has been located and the investigation continues," NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tweeted Saturday morning.

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.