The man suspected of placing rice cookers on a subway platform and sparking a bomb scare that rattled lower Manhattan during the morning rush hour is not dangerous and needs help, his brother said.
The abandoned rice cookers disrupted thousands of riders’ commutes, caused a major subway station to be evacuated, and launched a police investigation.
A third non-explosive cooker was found on a sidewalk two miles away from the station. The NYPD told INSIDER the investigation remains ongoing.
No explosives were found, and the suspect was seen on surveillance footage pushing the cookers in a grocery cart and placing them on the ground. Larry Kenton Griffin II, originally of Bruno, West Virginia, was taken into custody on Saturday after authorities found him in the Bronx.
Griffin has a history of criminal activity, but his brother told The Daily Mail that he does not pose a threat to public safety. He said his brother’s actions on Friday were likely a “cry for help” after he was refused care at a psychiatric hospital two days prior.
Griffin’s brother, Jason Griffin, who now resides in New London, Connecticut, told The Daily Mail that Larry called him after the incident on Friday and told him that he needed help escaping from the police, whom he knew were looking for him.
“I told him no. I tried to tell him to turn himself in and be calm, but once I gave him words of rationality he hung up,” Jason told The Daily Mail. He also said the FBI was on his family’s side, trying to help Larry, although a spokesperson for the FBI’s New York division told INSIDER no federal charges were filed and could not comment on the case.
Jason said Larry has a history of mental illness, is bipolar, and needs medication, although he said he has never been medicated. He told The Daily Mail that his brother moved to New York in March and considers being homeless an adventure, and that he had no motive to be a bomber.
He also said that Larry collected items for fun and that he found the three rice cookers in front of a sushi restaurant.
The Logan County Sheriff’s Office in West Virginia, where the Griffins are from, posted a status on Friday naming Larry and stating that he has been arrested three times in Logan County in the past eight years. Past charges include possession of a controlled substance involving weapons and use of obscene material to seduce a minor.
An active warrant for Larry’s arrest exists in Logan County, after he failed to report and is missing drug screens as part of his pre-trial bond supervision in West Virginia.
The New York Times reported that after being found in the Bronx, Larry was hospitalized, although it’s unclear why. Friday’s evacuation began at around 7 a.m. when authorities were alerted to the cookers in the subway station, and an hour later were alerted to another rice cooker found in a trash can in the Chelsea neighborhood.
By 10 a.m., authorities alerted the public that the devices were not dangerous. Pressure cookers have been turned into bombs in the past, such as in 2016, when a pressure cooker containing shrapnel exploded in Chelsea and injured 26 people.