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Man with sword on Empire State Building's observation deck arrested, police say

A view of the exterior of the Empire

A view of the exterior of the Empire State Building in New York on July 27, 2019. Credit: Todd Maisel

A Virginia man with a sword hidden in a cane made it up to the Empire State Building's observation deck Friday and was arrested after he took it out, the NYPD said.

He pulled the sword from the cane after getting onto the 79th floor and did not threaten anyone with it, police said. Published reports saying he was swinging it are inaccurate, police said.

"He unsheathed the sword and laid it across his chest," said Sgt. Mary O'Donnell, an NYPD spokeswoman.

He was acting irrationally, but when police arrived, he followed their directives and was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan, police said.

The name of the man, 35, was being withheld until charges, which would likely include criminal possession of a weapon, are filed, police said.

Reached by phone, a security officer at the Empire State Building said observation deck visitors must go through metal detectors but he declined to answer questions about the incident, including how the man made it through with a cane sword.

A building spokeswoman did not answer questions on how the cane sword got past metal detectors but issued a statement: “Earlier today there was an incident which was resolved without any interruption of Observatory operations or impact to any guests.”

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