Anti-Semitic thug behind plot to attack NYC synagogues is Jewish, grandfather is Holocaust survivor

Anti-Semitic thug behind plot of attack NYC synagogues is JEWISH and cares for his grandfather who survived the Holocaust, his lawyer claims: Mayor Eric Adams reveals men wore Nazi armbands on train before their arrest

  • Matthew Mahrer, 22, and Christopher Brown, 21, were arrested after they were planning to attack NYC synagogues and members of Jewish community 
  • The pair were busted on Friday on the Long Island Rail Road with Brown carrying weapons and a Nazi armband, according to police sources, a report said
  • Mahrer’s grandfather Stuart Rubenstein expressed shock:  ‘I don’t know how he got involved. The other kid must have talked him into it,’ he said
  • Mahrer was arraigned Saturday in court and has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon 
  • Brown was in court Sunday to be arraigned on charges relating to planned attacks on New York City synagogues on Friday
  • Officials have said the pair purchased a handgun in Pennsylvania for $650 and were planning to use it to attack Jewish people in the area 
  • Brown also said he was planning to ask a priest if he should ‘become a husband or shoot up a synagogue and die’ according to a post made on Twitter 

Prosecutors and relatives of one of the alleged co-conspirators and Nazi fanatics that plotted to blow up a string of Manhattan synagogues said he is Jewish – and his grandfather is a Holocaust survivor.

Matthew Mahrer, 22, was recently arrested with Christopher Brown, 21, when the pair hatched a plan to attack members of New York’s Jewish community before their scheme was foiled.

Stuart Rubenstein, Maher’s grandfather a Holocaust survivor appeared shocked by the disturbing news of his grandson. He said he ‘never figured he [his grandson] would get involved in something like this,’ The Daily News reported. 

‘He’s Jewish, you know?’ Rubenstein said, in part. ‘The other kid was more involved. The other kid must have talked him into it.’

Maher has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and is currently being held on a $150,000 bond.

Matthew Mahrer, 22, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and is being held on $150,000 bond

Matthew Mahrer, 22, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and is being held on $150,000 bond 

Christopher Brown, 21, was in court Sunday after being arrested for planning attacks on NYC synagogues

Christopher Brown, 21, was in court Sunday after being arrested for planning attacks on NYC synagogues

Mahrer's lawyer claims he has autism, bipolar disorder, anxiety and ADHD

Mahrer’s lawyer claims he has autism, bipolar disorder, anxiety and ADHD

Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and other law enforcement officials spoke at a news conference at City Hall on Monday and were joined by a number of religious leaders and members of the Jewish community. 

Adams said that he and the Commissioner were immediately notified once it was made known that it was a credible threat. He said their number one priority was to apprehend the suspects as soon as possible.

The Mayor was limited on what he could share during the press conference because it is an active investigation but spoke about the role of social media and how it ‘must become more responsible in the spreading of hate.’

‘We saw what happened in Buffalo the individual involved was radicalized not by his parents, not by his family,’ Adams said, in part. ‘He was radicalized by this new community that is really given life through social media.’ 

Investigators said that Brown and co-conspirator Matthew Mahrer had purchases a 9mm Glock in Pennsylvania for $650

Investigators said that Brown and co-conspirator Matthew Mahrer had purchases a 9mm Glock in Pennsylvania for $650 

Brown allegedly told investigators that he is 'sick' and runs a white supremacist group on Twitter

Brown allegedly told investigators that he is ‘sick’ and runs a white supremacist group on Twitter

The pair were in possession of a gun, a ‘high-capacity’ magazine, ammunition, a ‘military style’ knife, and Nazi memorabilia at the time of their arrest, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Court documents revealed that Brown allegedly told investigators he runs an online white supremacist group and owns Nazi paraphernalia because he thinks ‘it is really cool.’

The pair had met outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral Friday before they were ultimately stopped with the gun, a 9mm Glock, which they had allegedly purchased for $650 in Pennsylvania.

Assistant District Attorney Emilio Hernandez said Mahrer and Brown had even traveled to Pennsylvania together for the sale and had ‘intent to use it in an attack at a synagogue.’ 

The FBI/NYPD task force first became aware of threats to the Jewish community on Friday night and ‘moved swiftly to gather information, identify those behind it and operationally neutralize their ability to do harm,’ NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement. 

In a criminal complaint obtained by the New York Post, Brown allegedly told police that he has ‘a sick personality,’ when pressed about the attacks and the gun. 

‘I was going to be a coward and blow my brains out with it,’ Brown allegedly told police after his arrest. 

Brown had previously posted a message to his social media page on Thursday, allegedly saying: ‘Gonna ask a priest if I should become a husband or shoot up a synagogue and die.’

The 21-year-old also told police that Mahrer was ‘a follower’ of his. 

This is the poster the FBI released of Brown, asking the public for help finding the man who has a 'history of mental illness'

This is the poster the FBI released of Brown, asking the public for help finding the man who has a ‘history of mental illness’ 

‘It took me three years to finally buy the gun. Matt is one of my followers. I have Nazi paraphernalia in my house. I think it’s really cool,’ Brown allegedly told police, according to the complaint. 

‘I also operate a white supremacist Twitter group,’ Brown said. 

The man had appeared on the police’s radar after sending out threatening and alarming tweets, including one alleged post where he said said he was making ‘big moves on Friday.’ 

Police say he later posted to his social media account: ‘This time I’m really gonna do it.’ 

Brown has been arraigned on charges related to making a terroristic threat and weapons possession

Brown has been arraigned on charges related to making a terroristic threat and weapons possession

The accused also reportedly posted a video of himself saying that he was going to ‘brutally murder people with hatchets and whatnot.’ 

Inside the apartment of Mahrer’s parents, whom he lived with, police found a gun and bulletproof vest after their arrests. 

‘Hateful anti-Semitic targeting of synagogues is deplorable,’ Bragg said. ‘The Manhattan DA’s office will now pursue accountability and justice in this case with the full resources of our counter-terrorism problem and recently enhanced and expanded hate crimes unit.’ 

In addition to charges relating to making a terroristic threat, Brown has been charged with six charges of weapons possession. He is being held without bail. 

During his Saturday arraignment, his lawyer Brandon Freycint said that the 22-year old has autism, bipolar disorder, anxiety and ADHD, according to one outlet.

Mahrer’s lawyer also said that the man is ‘of Jewish heritage’ and that his own grandfather is a Holocaust survivor. 

‘My client is of Jewish heritage. He resides with his parents and his grandfather is actually a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor — and my client is his part-time caretaker,’ Freycinet said in court. 

The lawyer alleged that based on his heritage, Mahrer should not face potential charges related to a hate crime. 

Freycinet said that Mahrer had spent time in homeless shelters before moving back into his parents’ Upper West Side home a year ago and that he had no criminal history. 

Mahrer’s parents were present Saturday at his arraignment and claimed that this is not who they know their son to be. 

‘He’s not what they are saying he is,’ Mahrer’s mom told The Post outside the Manhattan courtroom Saturday. 

He is expected back in court Wednesday for his next hearing. 

Police were seen stationed outside of a synagogue in 2021 amid a rise in anti-Semitic attacks

Police were seen stationed outside of a synagogue in 2021 amid a rise in anti-Semitic attacks 

In 2021, the Anti-Defamation League found more than 2,700 incidents of anti- Semitic behavior nationwide. 

That number marked a staggering 34 percent jump from the from 2020. 

In an interview with PBS earlier this year, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League said that it’s a troubling statistic. 

‘This is the highest total we have ever tracked in more than 40 years of doing this work. And we should keep in mind that anti-Semitic acts were going down in the United States for almost 15 years, and then, in 2016, they started to move up.

‘And we’re now at the point where we have nearly triple the number of incidents today that we did in 2015.’ 

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