When a security guard stopped the 37-year-old man at the cathedral, he left the church and was arrested shortly thereafter by terrorism activists, John Miller of NYPD said at a press conference.
New Jersey and is known to the police that some gas was spilled when the security guard detained him in the church and forced him to turn around, Miller said.
"The circumstances of a person walking into an iconic place like St. Patrick's Cathedral carrying four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid, and lighters is something we should be very worried about," said Miller.
Before She Entered the Church The man retrieved the items from a minivan he had parked near the church, Miller said. The NYPD swept the vehicle and found no additional material.
The man initially told the officers to cut the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue and his car was empty, but Miller said when the officers checked his car, it had gas.
The man was not identified, but if he is charged with a crime, the police will release his identity, Miller added.
The authorities described him as emotionally disturbed, but said it was too early to say what it was motive or whether it was related to terrorism.
No one was injured in the incident, and the police are being investigated. St. Patrick's Cathedral, which opened its doors in 1
About 20 minutes later, the alarm sounded and the security guards of the cathedral noticed the fire.