Man faces federal charges for allegedly cutting wires under NYPD van

August 6, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Man faces federal charges for allegedly cutting wires under NYPD van
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A Brooklyn man was charged with destruction of a motor vehicle after allegedly sabotaging an NYPD vehicle in Sunset Park, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York,

A criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging 24-year-old Jeremy Trapp with sabotaging an NYPD van by cutting one of the vehicle’s brake lines. Trapp was arrested on Wednesday at his home in Brooklyn.

According to the Department of Justice, the complaint states that on Monday, July 13, Trapp participated in a protest outside the Brooklyn Criminal Court building in downtown Brooklyn against the arrests of individuals who had earlier confronted a pro-law enforcement rally in Bay Ridge. As the demonstration was ending, Trapp allegedly spoke with an individual who was a confidential source for the NYPD and he stated that he wanted to harm police officers and their supporters. Trapp also allegedly stated that he wanted to cut the brake lines on police cars.

On Friday, July 17, Trapp and the source talked on the phone and via text messages. The source then drove to Trapp’s home and picked him up. Trapp then allegedly showed the source his backpack, which contained several items, including a scissor-like tool.  At around 4 p.m., Trapp and the source approached the NYPD van, which was parked near Fourth Avenue and 42nd Street. Trapp allegedly crawled under the van and reached for something near one of the vehicle’s wheel wells while the source stood nearby acting as a lookout. Trapp then crawled out from under the van and left the area with the source. Both the source and NYPD officers watched surveillance videos that recorded the incident.

After an inspection, it was revealed that a line in the van for a wheel speed sensor had been partially cut.

According to the complaint, an NYPD automobile mechanic told the FBI that the partially cut line is part of the NYPD van’s anti-lock braking system, which is similar in appearance to, and in the same location as, the NYPD vehicle’s main brake line. A malfunctioning anti-lock braking system would adversely impact a driver’s ability to stop and maintain control of the van in an emergency.

If convicted, Trapp faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

“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.”

““Mr. Trapp’s alleged behavior is illegal,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr., “and for the information of others who may have been planning similar criminal activity, we’d like to remind them that the FBI investigates and charges this type of behavior as a federal crime. Citizens of this city, many of whom are not currently collecting paychecks, paid for the equipment allegedly damaged by Mr. Trapp. They expect it to be available to protect and serve our community when needed. 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.”

“Trapp’s alleged actions had potentially life-threatening consequences for NYPD officers and members of the public, who could have been injured by the vehicle’s brake failure,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.

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