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Bail set at $200K for NYC subway scare defendant

NEW YORK — Bail was set at $200,000 Sunday for a homeless man from West Virginia who was charged with placing two devices that looked like pressure cookers in a New York City subway station.

Larry Kenton Griffin II of Bruno, West Virginia, appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court before Judge Keisha Espinal, who set the bail and ordered Griffin to return to court Friday.

A message seeking comment was left with Griffin’s lawyer, Michael Croce.

The court appearance came a day after Griffin’s arrest and two days after Friday morning’s commute was disrupted by a police investigation that began after two large cooking pots were spotted at Manhattan’s Fulton subway station.

The incident inconvenienced thousands of commuters who use multiple subway lines that converge at the busy station next to the World Trade Center site, where a heavy police presence exists during every busy morning or evening commute since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The 26-year-old Griffin was charged with two counts of placing a false bomb. He was arrested Saturday in the Bronx after photographs of Griffin and the pots were distributed widely by law enforcement authorities.

A criminal complaint said Griffin knew the pots “would appear to be a bomb, destructive device, explosive and hazardous substance under circumstances in which it was likely to cause public alarm and inconvenience.”

The complaint said Griffin was seen on video pushing a silver shopping cart at West 16th Street and 7th Avenue at 5:56 a.m.

It said he took a rice cooker out of the shopping cart at the Fulton Street station 40 minutes later and kicked it toward an exit in front of an elevator.

The complaint said police Officer Joseph Nailes saw two rice cookers, including the one by the elevator, about a half hour later.

A third rice cooker was found at 6:40 a.m. Friday by a police detective on the sidewalk at West 16th Street and 7th Avenue, the complaint said.

West Virginia authorities have said Griffin has been arrested in the state at least three times in the past eight years, including a 2017 arrest on charges alleging he sent obscene material to a minor.

Tara Brumfield, Griffin’s cousin, told a Huntington, West Virginia, television station that he is a good person who has been dealing with mental health issues.

Alluding to the rice cookers, she said Griffin has a habit of picking up items in one place and putting them down in another.

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.

At the Boston Marathon in 2013, a pair of Islamic extremists detonated two pressure cookers packed with explosives, killing three people and injuring hundreds more.

In September 2016, a pressure-cooker bomb went off in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 30 people.

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