Crime and Courts

Man Arrested by FBI Over Alleged NYPD Van Brake Sabotage

24-year-old Jeremy Trapp was initially charged last month by the Brooklyn district attorney's office with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief

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A 24-year-old man arrested last month for allegedly cutting the brake line of an NYPD van in Brooklyn was arrested early Wednesday by FBI agents and faces federal charges, officials said.

Jeremy Trapp was initially cuffed by NYPD officers who spotted Trapp emerging from under the van July 17. A pair of scissors was found on him, police officials said.

Video of Trapp allegedly sabotaging the vehicle shows him underneath the van, which was parked in Sunset Park along Fourth Avenue and 42nd Street that day.

A senior police official said at the time of Trapp’s original arrest that a mechanic confirmed the brake line damage would have prevented the van from stopping. An inspection of the vehicle revealed a line for a wheel speed sensor, which was part of the anti-lock brake system, had been partially severed.

Officials say Trapp was seen at times coming and going from the Occupy City Hall protests last month.

Exclusive video shows the moment police say a man tried to sabotage an NYPD vehicle in Brooklyn by cutting the brake line. Jonathan Dienst reports.

Trapp was charged last month by the Brooklyn district attorney's office with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

"Citizens of this city, many of whom are not currently collecting paychecks, paid for the equipment allegedly damaged by Mr. Trapp," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney. "Behavior like the type alleged here diverts resources, destroys property, risk lives, and detracts from the important message thousands of peaceful citizens have rightfully highlighted."

The criminal complaint stated that Trapp participated in a demonstration outside Brooklyn Criminal Court on July 13 that was against the arrests of those who confronted a pro-police march in Bay Ridge. As the demonstration was coming to an end, Trapp unknowingly told a confidential source with the NYPD that he wanted to hurt police officers and anyone who supported them, and stated his desire to but brake lines on police vehicles, according to the complaint.

The two traded texts and a few days later, on July 17, Trapp was picked up by the police source and showed him his backpack, which contained a scissor-like tool. Around 4 p.m., the pair approached the marked van, where Trapp moved underneath as the other stood watch, the complaint read. Law enforcement officials had recorded the incident.

"The defendant who believed he was cutting the brake lines to a vehicle that could be carrying up to nine police officers clearly intended to create a situation that could result in serious injuries or death for officers or civilians," said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. "No one should confuse this conduct with lawful protest."

At his appearance via teleconference in federal court in Brooklyn Wednesday afternoon, Trapp was ordered detained without bail, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. If convicted, the Brooklyn resident faces up to 20 years behind bars.

Attempts to reach him for comment after his initial arrest were unsuccessful. The public defender's office could not be reached for comment.

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