Man arrested for alleged threats against NYC Jewish community

(NEW YORK) — A man was arrested Saturday for allegedly making threats against the New York City Jewish community, authorities said.

The 21-year-old man from Suffolk County, New York, made a series of increasingly concerning statements about attacking a synagogue in New York City, according to police sources.

The threat, which was uncovered Friday by NYPD counterterrorism officers and FBI agents, did not involve a specific synagogue, police said.

An intelligence alert was issued that included a photo of the man, identified as Christopher Brown, and stated that the individual had allegedly “made recent threats to unknown Jewish Synagogues in the New York Area.”

“Sharp-eyed” MTA police officers spotted the man entering Penn Station in Manhattan with another individual on Saturday, where he was found with a knife, according to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

A subsequent search of an apartment where the suspect visited turned up an illegal Glock 17 firearm, sources said.

A 30-round magazine and several other items were seized in the search, police said.

Today, we’re extremely grateful to NYPD investigators and our law enforcement partners who uncovered and stopped a threat to our Jewish community. This morning’s arrests in Penn Station and weapon seizures are proof of their vigilance & collaboration that keeps New Yorkers safe.

— Commissioner Sewell (@NYPDPC) November 19, 2022

“As a joint investigation now continues to establish a strong prosecution, Police Department commanders are strategically deploying assets at sensitive locations throughout New York City,” Sewell said.

Brown, of Aquebogue, New York, has been charged with making a terroristic threat, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

A second man, identified as 22-year-old Matthew Mahrer of Manhattan, has also been charged with criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the incident, police said.

Federal prosecutors are still considering additional charges, sources said.

It is unclear if the two men have an attorney who can speak on their behalf.

The arrests come more than two weeks after the FBI announced the “broad threat” to New Jersey synagogues on Twitter and urged people to “stay alert” and “take all security precautions.”

The FBI later said it identified the source of the threat made against an unspecified New Jersey-area synagogue. Once the young man was located, authorities realized there was no threat, sources said.

An 18-year-old man from Sayreville, New Jersey, was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce, the Justice Department said.

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