Crime and Courts

Two Brooklyn Residents Arrested in Torching of NYPD Van Used to Help the Homeless

The pair was with others shortly after 4:30 a.m. when they used a tequila bottle to set fire to the NYPD Homeless Outreach Unit van in Greenwich Village, according to the criminal complaint

NYPD van
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Two Brooklyn residents arrested Thursday could face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison if they are convicted of federal charges that say they torched a police van in Manhattan used to help the homeless, authorities announced.

Corey Smith, 24, and Elaine Carberry, 36, were arrested in the July 15 arson in Greenwich Village near Union Square, after an undercover law enforcement officer recognized them on video images from "previous interactions," authorities said in a criminal complaint.

The complaint did not say if the undercover officer was among law enforcement operatives who have sometimes gathered information during widespread protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

If convicted of conspiracy to commit arson and arson, they could each face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years.

It was not immediately clear who will represent them in court.

The pair was with a group of individuals shortly after 4:30 a.m. on a Wednesday when they used a tequila bottle to set fire to the New York Police Department Homeless Outreach Unit van on the corner of East 12th Street and University Place, according to court papers. They returned minutes later to apply an accelerant to destroy the van, authorities said.

"These organized efforts are not a form of protest, they are crimes," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a release. "They cost the taxpayer and damage the cause of those engaged in legitimate protest."

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