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Army veteran being held for alleged plot on NYC bridges, tunnels

A jailed Army veteran seeking release on charges for allegedly plotting to bomb bridges and tunnels leading from New Jersey to New York City is in an indefinite “holding pattern” until he shares his mental health records.

Daniel Czerepak, a former Army captain, was arrested by Port Authority police in September in Fort Lee, New Jersey, when he tried to use a forged placard to get onto a site being used to refurbish the George Washington Bridge, according The Record newspaper.

The bridge is one of the main commuter access points connecting New Jersey to New York City.

Police said that Czerepak was doing reconnaissance on the bridge, and they submitted evidence that he had visited other local bridges and tunnels and was “keeping track of what he’s learning.”

Toll data showed he’d visited the Lincoln Tunnel, Brooklyn Bridge and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge prior to his arrest. All are major New York City arteries. Police also found illegal high-capacity magazines at his Wallington, New Jersey, home during a search. His sister told the local newspaper that they were items from his Army service and not loaded.

As of this week, Czerepak did not face terrorism related charges. However, he is awaiting trial on charges of fraud, receiving stolen property and unlawful possession of high-capacity magazines.

He had been transferred from the local jail to a psychiatric unit in a local medical center in January, and local prosecutors told the judge in the case that they are requesting his mental health records in order to better provide treatment. For that, he must submit to a mental health competency evaluation, which includes a review of his history.

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If the test is not completed. “he is going to sit in a holding pattern indefinitely,” Judge Frances McGrogan said.

Family members said that Czerepak was an Army captain who left the service in January 2019, though he had returned home in October 2018 ahead of his discharge.

As an ROTC cadet, Czerepak had graduated from Rutgers University in 2012 and then received a commission. He was stationed first in Texas and later deployed to Kuwait then South Korea, family members told The Record.


Todd South is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War. He has written about crime, courts, government and military issues for multiple publications since 2004. In 2014, he was named a Pulitzer finalist for local reporting on a project he co-wrote about witness problems in gang criminal cases. Todd covers ground combat for Military Times.

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