NEW YORK — A man suspected of placing two devices that looked like pressure cookers in a New York City subway station, causing an evacuation and roiling Friday’s morning commute, has been apprehended, police said.
Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tweeted Saturday morning that a man seen in surveillance video holding one of the objects — which police identified as rice cookers —was taken into custody.
Police said cameras captured a man pulling the cookers out of a shopping cart and placing them in the Fulton Street subway station near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
A third cooker of the same make, year and model was found about 2 miles away (3 kilometers) on a sidewalk in the Chelsea neighborhood, prompting another police investigation.
Authorities determined they were not explosives.
Many rice cookers look like pressure cookers, which use pressure to cook food quickly — a function that has been used to turn them into bombs.
Dozens of suspicious packages are reported daily in the city, but the proximity of the subway station to the site of the Sept. 11 attacks served to heighten anxiety before police gave the all-clear.
Police have stressed that so far, it isn’t clear if the man 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.”
Police say they didn’t have details on the man’s apprehension. No charges have been announced.