NEW YORK (PIX11) — NYPD detectives tracked two men connected to social media posts about attacking a synagogue before their arrest at Penn Station.
The arrest of Christopher Brown and Matthew Mahrer was made with the help of technology, tips and the work of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, led by Chief John Hart.
Chief Hart said the investigation into Brown and Mahrer, like many others, started with a single threat that caught the eye of one detective. It then escalated to all hands on deck.
“That was two teams of probably 6-8 detectives that were focused on this in the late afternoon, and then it went from there to involving every agency in the region,” Hart said.
Brown and Mahrer’s alleged threats were a priority for investigators. Their focus was on stopping the men before the words of hate could be carried out.
Hart explained that nothing is overlooked by the team of investigators. They take threats online seriously.
Lt. David Cuce said calls to a tip line are taken live by a detective. That detective inputs the information and asks key questions. The information is sent to Lt. Cuce’s office. From there, the team tries to identify the person or group behind the screen. They also determine how credible the threat is.
“Social media is a very positive thing in many ways, it keeps people connected,” Hart said. “But in the hate vernacular, this is where they operate. They operate because they have a shield of anonymity. They reach people around the world and around the country.”
What concerns the team the most is when threats come in about the use of weapons, with escalation of threats with pictures. Threats on schools, houses of worship, landmarks and public places that are highly populated are also massive concerns. These threats amplify the department’s response.
Chief Hart said there is a shared responsibility fighting these crimes. He asked the public to stay vigilant and call the tip lineL NYPD 888-NYC-SAFE, or the FBI at 888-CALL-FBI.