Lamparello had booked a flight to Rome for the day after his arrest and a hotel just 20 minutes from the Vatican.
Police in Newark, New Jersey, had arrested Lamparello two nights before the St. Patrick’s incident after he allegedly refused to leave the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart at closing time after a late Mass.
Prosecutors have said Lamparello, who has taught at Lehman College in New York City and Seton Hall University in New Jersey, spent a considerable amount of time surveilling St. Patrick’s.
Upon entering the cathedral, he was stopped by a church employee who told police he saw gasoline spill out of one of the canisters Lamparello was holding.
When confronted by police, Lamparello said that his vehicle had run out of gas and that he was “taking a short cut through the church,” according to a court document.
Lamparello has pleaded not guilty to attempted arson and reckless endangerment.