NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey man accused of carrying gasoline and lighter fluid into St. Patrick’s Cathedral will face charges of attempted arson.
Marc Lamparello, 37, appeared from the hospital via video to the courtroom where he was arraigned on charges of attempted arson and reckless endangerment.
If found guilty, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors recommended Lamparello be held on a bond of $500,000 and surrendering of his passport.
Police said Lamparello parked his minivan on Fifth Avenue and walked into the cathedral with two cans of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and two butane lighters on April 17. He was stopped by security before he could enter the main area of the church.
“This gentleman walked in the door, he caught the eye right away and he was confronted,” said Kevin Donohue, director of operations for the cathedral.
According to police, Lamparello told police “My vehicle ran out of gas, I was taking a short cut through the church.”
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Police were notified and took Lamparello into custody.
“The system works,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan said last week. “Does that mean it’s fail-safe? No. But that’s why we come to church – to pray for God’s protection.”
Two days prior to the security scare, Lamparello was arrested at a church in Newark. Police said he refused to leave Sacred Heart Cathedral after closing time.
The 37-year-old from New Jersey was the music director at St. Joseph’s Church in East Rutherford and worked at Seton Hall as an adjunct philosophy instructor.
Investigators said before the incident, Lamparello purchased a plane ticket to Italy and was set to fly out the following night.