Updated 7/21, 3:40 p.m.
An East Elmhurst man threw a fake bomb into a police van on Wednesday night, causing the NYPD to call a bomb squad and close off streets and subway lines surrounding Columbus Circle.
On July 20 at approximately 11:30 p.m., Hector Meneses, 52, threw an electrical device into the open window of an NYPD van, police said. Meneses fled the scene in a gold SUV.
The van was parked at West 46th Street and Seventh Avenue and was occupied by a sergeant and police officer. The sergeant drove the van one block away from Times Square and removed the device from the vehicle at Sixth Avenue.
Police found a candle, a cylindrical object and an electric component with a flashing red light wrapped in a white cloth. Officials secured the area and called the NYPD Bomb Squad, which determined that the items were a hoax device.
At about 2:10 a.m., officers from the Midtown North Precinct observed a gold SUV near Columbus Circle. When they stopped the vehicle, Meneses was seen putting a red helmet on his head. Emergency Services, bomb squad personnel and hostage negotiators were on the scene attempting to speak to Meneses, who was unresponsive.
Streets around Columbus Circle were barricaded and 1, A, B, C, and D subway lines skipped the 59th Street/Columbus Circle stop while officials tried to negotiate with Meneses.
Meneses told police that there were explosives in the vehicle and officials used a robot to search the inside of the car and observed what appeared to be a possible device. Police also said Meneses was opening a center console inside the vehicle and kept one of his hands out of sight during negotiations.
After a bomb squad evaluation found no immediate danger, Meneses was removed from the car. A further investigation found no explosives in the car.
At 7:45 a.m. on Thursday, Meneses was taken into custody.
Meneses is charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, three counts of first-degree falsely reporting an incident, making a false terrorist threat, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree menacing, resisting arrest and placing a false bomb.