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Man Arrested Near Rockefeller Christmas Tree With Gasoline Can, Matches

'Have you seen the news today?' the man allegedly asked when he was arrested. He was before he could get to crowds by the famed Christmas tree.
IMAGE: Rockefeller Plaza
A view of Rockefeller Plaza and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City last week.Diane Bondareff / AP

A man carrying a gasoline can and matches has been charged with two misdemeanors after he was arrested near the famed Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree in New York City, authorities told NBC News on Tuesday.

The man was arrested Monday after officers followed him to an intersection near Rockefeller Plaza, a police official said.

A view of Rockefeller Plaza and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City last week.Diane Bondareff / AP

Officers were alerted to him by a Fox News employee who reported that a man, later identified as Yuriy Alterman, 38, of the Bronx, was yelling anti-police slurs and throwing a bottle, police said.

The man was intercepted before he could get near the crowds in Rockefeller Plaza, where the traditional Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up last week outside NBC's world headquarters.

At the time of his arrest, the man was carrying a red 2-gallon gasoline can half-filled with a fluid that smelled like gasoline, as well as matches and a book called "Son of Hamas," according to an NYPD spokesperson.

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A law enforcement source said the man told police: "Sometimes, you guys do things that make others do things even though that's not who we are."

"Have you seen the news today?" he allegedly added, the source told NBC News.

It wasn't immediately clear what he was referring to.

Alterman was charged with two misdemeanor counts, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and disorderly conduct.