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‘Developing threat’ to NYC Jewish community averted as 2 arrested at Penn Station

A man who is alleged to have posted threats to synagogues online was arrested carrying weapons and ammunition

(New York Jewish Week) — Two men were arrested on Saturday at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan for what the New York Police Department called “a developing threat to the Jewish community.”

One of the men had traveled to New York City after posting on social media that he might “shoot up a synagogue and die,” law enforcement sources told local and national media organizations. He carried weapons, including an illegal firearm and a large hunting knife; ammunition; and a Nazi armband, according to the reports.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced the arrests in a statement, in which she said the police department was strategically deploying resources to “sensitive locations” throughout the city due to the threat.

She said a joint task force of the NYPD and the FBI worked together to swiftly “gather information and identify those behind it and operationally neutralize their ability to do harm.”

The NYPD had alerted officers late Friday to be on the lookout for Christopher Brown, 22, noting that he had a history of mental illness, had made threats to synagogues and that “should be considered armed and dangerous.”

The alert said that Brown had indicated online that he was interested in traveling from his home in Aquebogue, Long Island, to New York City in order to purchase a weapon.

Sewell said that officers patrolling Penn Station noticed Brown early on Saturday and arrested him, along with a second man, Matthew Mahler of Manhattan.

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

The arrests come just weeks after the FBI warned synagogues in New Jersey about a “broad threat” made to them; the NYPD heightened security at city synagogues as a precaution. The FBI later announced that a 19-year-old man who said he had sworn allegiance to ISIS had been arrested for making the threat.

The Community Security Service, a Jewish security nonprofit organization, released a statement late Saturday saying that it had been in contact with federal and local law enforcement agencies over the past day.

“As always, we ask the community to remain vigilant, but no further immediate community actions are needed at this time,” the statement said.

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