Man Who Threw Suspicious Package at NYPD Van in Custody After Standoff

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A man who is suspected of throwing a suspicious package into an NYPD van in Times Square has been taken into custody, police said Thursday morning. The man had been sitting in a parked SUV, prompting the closure of New York's Columbus Circle and surrounding streets earlier Thursday.

The suspect was initially reported to be wearing a red helmet and was moving around in the vehicle, according to police.

Large numbers of police responded, closing Columbus Circle to pedestrians and traffic. Police have sent in a robot to get a closer look.

Police were looking into whether the man in the SUV is the person wanted for throwing a suspicious package into an NYPD van parked in Times Square hours earlier.

The suspicious package landed on the dashboard of an NYPD van just before 11:35 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said the package was wrapped up and was making some kind of ticking noise.

The sergeant in the van immediately drove out of Times Square to a safer location, police said. The package was placed on the ground and away from pedestrians. The NYPD Bomb Squad was called to the scene, police said.

After examining the package, it was found to be a red candle and a battery-operated lantern, wrapped in tin foil. The object was wrapped in a white shirt.



The scare prompted a citywide search for the SUV.

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Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statue

Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statueMark Wilson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer will issue a statement Friday afternoon after canceling a news conference at which he was expected to "make a major announcement" regarding the local statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the legacy of the woman killed during a protest sparked by the city's plans to remove the statue.

His news conference had been scheduled for noon on Friday, but the mayor tweeted Friday morning that "we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon."

FYI all: we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

FYI, the reason for the change is we decided a statement rather than a press event was the best medium for the ideas I want to convey today.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

The statement comes six days after a Unite the Right rally sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove the Lee statue from a local park turned deadly.

The rally was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes.

A driver plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several others. The suspected driver is in custody, facing charges including second-degree murder.

Despite the "painful" event, "we’re not going to let them define us,” Signer told ABC News earlier this week of the agitators.

"They’re not going to tell our story," he said. "We’re going to tell our story. And outsiders -- their time has come and gone. This city is back on their feet, and we’re going to be better than ever despite this."

Signer compared his hopes for Charlottesville's recovery to the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015 that killed nine people. The gunman in that attack said he wanted to start a race war, but the tragedy instead united the city.

"There’s a memorial right now in front of Charlottesville City Hall that’s flowers and a heart that talks about the love that we have here. Those are the images that are going to replace these horrific ones from this weekend. That’s the work that we have as a country," Signer said.

"That’s what happened in Charleston. There were those horrible images of those people bloodied and killed and weeping from the church. But they were replaced quickly, steadily, by the work that started to happen. By people who said, 'You’re not going to tell our story for us. We’re going to tell our story.'

"And that’s what’s happening in this community. That’s my work as the mayor here -- is not to allow these hateful people who just don’t get this country to define us," he said. "And they’re not going to define us."

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