Man accused of tossing hoax bomb into cruiser is in custody

NEW YORK (AP) — A man suspected of tossing a hoax bomb through the open window of a police vehicle in Times Square was taken into custody Thursday after an overnight standoff a short drive away in Manhattan’s landmark Columbus Circle, the New York Police Department said.

The episode began when a person in a passing vehicle tossed a cylindrical object into the police car late Wednesday, said Chief of Department James O’Neill. The object turned out to include a candle and a harmless electrical component. A police photo showed those objects displayed beside foil and white cloth.

Officers spotted the suspect’s SUV at around 2 a.m. Thursday at Columbus Circle and pulled it over, O’Neill said. He said the driver refused to get out and donned a red plastic helmet. SWAT officers went to the scene.

Surrounding streets were closed and subway trains bypassed the area, a traffic circle at the southwest corner of Central Park that is home to the Time Warner Center and the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

The standoff ended around 8 a.m. after police sent a robot to check out the suspect’s vehicle because they didn’t know what was inside it.

Two officers were in the marked vehicle when the device was tossed inside, police said. They drove to a less-crowded area, placed the device on the sidewalk, got out and took cover. The bomb squad gave the all-clear a short time later. There are no reports of injuries.