Federal agents took 24-year-old Jeremy Trapp into custody Wednesday on a charge of destruction of a motor vehicle.
They say he was caught on camera last month tampering with the police vehicle parked on Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street in Brooklyn.
He was previously charged with state level offenses in connection with the incident, but was released without bail.
"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," stated Acting United States Attorney Seth DuCharme. "This Office will ensure that anyone who targets police officers or acts with the intent to undermine public safety efforts will face justice."
The NYPD used a paid informant to surveil Trapp, who was allegedly an anti-police protester, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.
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"Trapp expressed excitement to the Confidential Source about having severed the brake line on the NYPD Van and stated that he wanted to do the same to more police cars," the criminal complaint said.
Trapp allegedly told the informant that he wanted to harm police officers and their supporters and he had previously been involved with destroying property and burning a police car, according to the complaint.
Officials say on July 17, Trapp and the informant approached a marked NYPD vehicle where Trapp crawled under a vehicle while the informant acted as a "lookout."
The incident was caught on video and an inspection later revealed that Trapp ended up severing a line that is part of the anti-lock braking system.
"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. No one should confuse this conduct with lawful protest," said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
If convicted, Trapp faces up to 20 years in prison.
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