2 men arrested in connection with “recent threats” against New York synagogues

Two suspects, armed with a gun and a knife, were arrested in Manhattan on Saturday morning in connection with threats that were made against New York area synagogues, authorities announced.

The men were taken into custody while entering Penn Station, the New York City Police Department said. The two were armed with a hunting knife, an illegal Glock 17 firearm, and a 30-round magazine, police said.

A source familiar with the investigation told CBS News that a Nazi armband was found during the arrests.

The suspects, who were spotted and arrested by Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officers, were identified by the NYPD as 21-year-old Christopher Brown and 22-year-old Matthew Mahrer.

Brown is being held on charges of making terroristic threats and aggravated harassment, while Mahrer faces counts of aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon, police told CBS News.

The situation began Friday, according to police, when investigators with the FBI and NYPD discovered a “developing threat to the Jewish community.”

The agencies released a police bulletin in which they identified Brown as a person of interest wanted in connection with “recent threats made to unknown Jewish synagogues in the New York area.”

Brown, a diagnosed schizophrenic, had “recently informed his family of his interest to travel to NYC and purchase a firearm,” police said in the bulletin. According to police, Brown is from the community of Aquebogue on Long Island, while Mahrer is a Manhattan resident.

The exact details of the threats were not immediately disclosed. 

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

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