WASHINGTON - A man is behind bars for allegedly breaching security during Pope Francis' visit in New York and in D.C.
Pope Francis left New York City Saturday morning from John F. Kennedy International Airport bound for Philadelphia to complete his visit to the United States.
Later that night, on the tarmac where the pontiff had just boarded an airplane, police say a retired New York City Firefighter breached security and illegally entered the restricted area posing as part of the Secret Service motorcade.
Investigators say 39-year old Chris Cannela who lives on Long Island drove a black Chevy Tahoe similar to the ones Secret Service use and followed a motorcade into a secure are of the airport.
He was finally stopped by a Port Authority Police Officer, questioned, and arrested when he could not prove he had permission to be there.
When police searched his car they found he had hollow point bullets, a knife and marijuana in the trunk.
His lawyer says Cannela breached security because he wanted a blessing from the pontiff.
“My client is a wonderful family man and absolutely no intention of hurting the pope, any diplomat, any civilian, any law enforcement or any other person,” his lawyer, Scott Bookstein, said.
Bookstein added that Cannela had recently lost his niece to cancer and want to speak to him about his loss.
Prior to the incident in New York, investigators say that they believe Cannela snuck into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during a mass held by Pope Francis in D.C. They believe he used his retired NYFD badge to gain entry.
Cannela has a hearing on October 13.