Larry Griffin is a homeless man from West Virginia who lives in New York City. He is being sought for questioning in relation to two rice cookers that were left unattended at the Fulton Street transit station in New York City. The incident caused mass disruption during the early morning commute for thousands of New Yorkers. A passenger reported the two cookers to police at around 7 a.m. A little over an hour later, authorities said the devices were not explosives.
Griffin is from the town of Bruno, West Virginia, a community of a little more than 500 people along the Guyandotte River in Logan County. The Logan County Sheriff’s Department has been contacted by the FBI in relation to Griffin.
On the morning of August 17, Griffin was taken into custody by authorities in New York City. Officials have said that Griffin is not under arrest. ABC News reports that Griffin appeared to be in a wheelchair as authorities apprehended him.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Larry Griffin’s Father Says His Son Has Been Panhandling in New York City
NBC New York was the first to identify Griffin as the man that police wanted to question having spoken to Griffin’s father. Larry Griffin Sr. said that his son had been begging in the city. Griffin Sr. said although he speaks to his son on the phone occasionally, he hasn’t seen him in a long time.
Griffin was described by police as having dark hair, being in his 20s or 30s, and having a shopping cart.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism John Miller described Griffin as “Why is he placing them there and what is the purpose of that? Not a suspect, but certainly somebody we want to interview.” The NBC New York report mentions that Griffin has a history of criminal activity.
2. In 2017, Griffin Was Accused of Trying to Have a Sexual Relationship With a Male Minor
In November 2017, Griffin was accused of trying to have a sexual relationship with a male teenager through social media, WSAZ in West Virginia reported.
The station’s report says that Griffin was accused of sending a minor sexually explicit materials between June and November 2017. One of those materials is described as a “homemade” video showing a man having sex with an animal. On the day of the rice cooker incident in New York City, WSAZ reported that there is an active warrant out for Griffin’s arrest from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office. The warrant is regarding failure to appear and accused Griffin of missing drug screening appointments.
3. On One of His Facebook Profiles, Griffin Describes Himself as an Artist
Griffin maintains two Facebook profiles. On one, Griffin describes himself as being an artist. Griffin writes in the About section on one of those pages that he is an “Artist, In a Few Aspects of Life.” Griffin says on that page that his current city is Charleston, West Virginia, and describes Man, West Virginia, as his hometown. Griffin says that he is a homosexual on that page. Among his likes on that page is “Crystal Meth Addiction Support.”
While on another page, Griffin says that he studied at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. In the Intro section, Griffin wrote, “im a good person for real.”
4. There Is No Indication Yet That the Rice Cookers Were Deliberately Left at the Station to Be Threatening
Miller had earlier told the media that it was “possible that somebody put out a bunch of items in the trash today and this guy picked them up and then discarded them. As you all know, there are people with shopping carts who pick things up on the street and place them back on the street, and that’s kind of a factor of urban life.”
While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had told the media about authorities not taking any chances saying, “This is a frightening world we live in, and all of these situations have to be taken seriously because God forbid one day … it’s a real device. We learned the hard way after 9/11, and we are prepared.”
5. Pressure Cooker Bombs Were Used in an Attack on New York City in 2016
A third rice cooker of the same make and model was located shortly after the Fulton Street ones at 16th street and 7th avenue. That was also quickly deemed to not have been explosive.
In 2016, Ahmad Rahimi, exploded a pressure cooker bomb on 27th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, injuring dozens of people. Rahimi is serving life in prison. Rahimi was arrested by authorities in New Jersey days after the attack. He was sentenced in 2017.