NYPD Releases Photo of Man After Rice Cooker Scare

3 abandoned devices cause chaos and fear in New York City Friday morning
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2019 1:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – Three abandoned devices that looked like pressure cookers caused an evacuation of a major New York City subway station and closed off an intersection in another part of town Friday morning before police determined the objects were not explosives. Police were looking to talk to a man seen on surveillance video taking two of the objects—which police identified as rice cookers—out of a shopping cart and placing them in a subway station in lower Manhattan, per the AP. About two hours later, a third rice cooker—the same make, year, and model—was found about 2 miles away on a sidewalk in the Chelsea neighborhood. In a photo released by authorities, the young man is lugging a cooker into an elevator.

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But police stressed that so far, it wasn't clear whether he was trying to frighten people or merely throwing the objects away. "I would stop very short of calling him a suspect," said John Miller, the New York Police Department's top counterterror official. "It is possible that somebody put out a bunch of items in the trash today and this guy picked them up and then discarded them, or it's possible that this was an intentional act." Earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had said authorities suspected the items were placed in the subway "to suggest that they were electronic devices and possible bombs." Many rice cookers look like pressure cookers, but the latter use pressure to cook food quickly—a function that has been used to turn them into bombs.

(Read more New York City stories.)

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