Marc Lamparello, 37, center, is escorted out of a police precinct in New York, Thursday, April 18, 2019.  Police say Lamparello was arrested after entering St. Patrick's Cathedral Wednesday night in New York with two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters. Lamparello is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — A college philosophy teacher arrested after entering St. Patrick's Cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters had also been arrested at a New Jersey cathedral this week and had booked a Thursday flight to Rome, the New York Police Department said.

Marc Lamparello, 37, is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment after his arrest Wednesday night at the New York City landmark, said John Miller, the New York Police Department's deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.

It happened just days after Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was ravaged by a fire that investigators said Thursday was most likely electrical. Miller would not discuss anything Lamparello told investigators after his arrest but stressed that there "doesn't appear to be any connection to any terrorist group or any terrorist-related intent here."

Before going to St. Patrick's on Wednesday, Miller said, Lamparello booked a $2,800 ticket on a 5:20 p.m. Thursday flight to Italy. Asked if Lamparello indicated what he planned to do in Rome, Miller said, "I'm not going to get into that right now."

Lamparello remained in police custody Thursday and had not been arraigned.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Lamparello had a lawyer who could speak for him. A man leaving his parents' house Thursday in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, close to New York City, had no comment for a reporter when asked about Lamparello.

Lamparello "wasn't weird," said a neighbor, Salvatore Altomare, adding that he "seemed like ... a nice guy, walked a straight line."

Altomare described the family as "very good people. ... They're real Americans — try to do the right thing."

Two nights before his arrest in New York — and hours after footage of Notre Dame burning was shown around the world — police in Newark arrested Lamparello after he wouldn't leave the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart at closing time after a late Mass. Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said Thursday that Lamparello was calm and respectful to the officers but was adamant about not leaving.

"He said, 'This is a house of God, it should be open, I'm not leaving. You'll have to lock me up,'" Fontoura said.

After he was charged with three minor offenses including defiant trespass, emergency medical services personnel examined Lamparello and determined he wasn't a threat. Lamparello's mother arrived and the two drove back to Hasbrouck Heights in his van, according to Fontoura.

"There was no reason to check the van at that point," he said.

Lamparello is a philosophy instructor who has taught at New York City's Lehman and Brooklyn colleges and Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Lehman's website listed him as a Ph.D. candidate at the City University of New York's Graduate Center.

In a statement, Lehman College spokesperson Sarah Ramsey said, "We are aware that an individual was arrested last night after an incident at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The individual was hired at Lehman College during this academic year, and was a part-time, online instructor this semester. We are taking the appropriate steps to terminate the individual's employment with the college."

A page on Amazon.com describes Lamparello's 2016 book, "Reason and Counterpoint," as offering "ambitious and highly creative answers to some of the most vexing philosophical questions." The same page says Lamparello has been working on another book project described as "a witty dialogue on arguments for and against the existence of God."

Miller said surveillance camera footage showed Lamparello circling St. Patrick's several times in a minivan well over an hour before he parked outside the cathedral on Fifth Avenue, walked around the area, returned to his vehicle, and retrieved the gasoline and lighter fluid.

When he entered the church, he was confronted by a security officer, who notified counterterrorism officers standing outside. Lamparello told the officers his car was out of gas and headed in a direction away from where he was parked, Miller said.

Officers found his vehicle and determined it was not out of gas, Miller said.

___

David Porter reported from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner and writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this report.

Marc Lamparello, 37, center, is escorted out of a police precinct in New York, Thursday, April 18, 2019.  Police say Lamparello was arrested after entering St. Patrick's Cathedral Wednesday night in New York with two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters. Lamparello is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
This photo posted on the New York Police Department's Twitter page shows gas cans and lighter fluid that a New Jersey man was seen carrying as he entered St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in New York. The suspect has been arrested. (New York Police Department via AP)
Tourists walk past police officers standing in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, April 18, 2019. A New Jersey man was arrested after entering the cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, the New York Police Department said, just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2018 file photo, St. Patrick's Cathedral is seen in New York. Just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, a New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday night, April 17, 2019, after entering St. Patrick's Cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, according to the New York Police Department. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
This Sept. 6, 2018, photo shows St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. A New Jersey man has been arrested outside the cathedral with two jugs of gasoline. Police say church personnel stopped the 37-year-old man from entering the landmark cathedral in Manhattan at about 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Authorities were investigating whether the unidentified man is emotionally disturbed. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
While firemen conduct an inspection, fire trucks are parked in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, April 18, 2019. A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday night, after entering the cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, the New York Police Department said, just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A larger-than-usual security presence is seen at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, April 18, 2019. A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday night after entering the cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, the New York Police Department said, just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A larger-than-usual security presence is seen at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, April 18, 2019. A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday night, after entering the cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, the New York Police Department said, just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A larger-than-usual security presence is seen at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, April 18, 2019. A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday night after entering the cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters, the New York Police Department said, just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill, left, and Deputy Commissioner John Miller, right, hold a press conference with the latest into the investigation of suspect charged with attempted arson at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday April 18, 2019, in New York. Miller says 37-year-old Marc Lamparello is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment for after his arrest Wednesday night at the New York City landmark. It happened just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill, left, and Deputy Commissioner John Miller, right, hold a news conference with the latest into the investigation of suspect charged with attempted arson at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday April 18, 2019, in New York.  Miller says 37-year-old Marc Lamparello is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment for after his arrest Wednesday night at the New York City landmark.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)