NEW YORK — A former high school teacher and his twin brother were busted for stockpiling more than 30 pounds of explosives in their apartment that they had paid teenage students to help collect, authorities aid.
A raid of 27-year-old Christian and Tyler Toro’s Bronx apartment revealed a cornucopia of dangerous chemical compounds, including 20 pounds of iron oxide and aluminum powder, which become explosive thermite when combined, according to an FBI affidavit.
Investigators also found a notebook scribbled with alarming declarations such as, “We are the twin Toros. Strike us now, we will return with nano thermite,” and “I am here 100%, living, buying weapons. Whatever we need.”
An index card found in a backpack contained the disturbing message: “Unde the full moon, the small ones will know terror.”
Authorities caught wind of the Toros’ explosive obsession in December when Christian Toro, resigned from his job as a teacher at Democracy Prep High School, a charter school in Harlem where he worked.
His resignation came shortly after a student called in a bomb threat to the school. When Toro turned in his school-issued laptop, a technician found a making manual on the hard drive, so the school contacted police.
Further investigation revealed that Toro had been having an affair with a 15-year-old student who later was determined to have phone in the bomb threat to the school. He was arrested on Jan. 31 for raping a minor.
When asked about the manual on his computer, Toro said he had only looked at it when doing research about the Boston Marathon bombing and had not meant to download it. He insisted he had never made a bomb.
But when investigators spoke to students, they were told the Toros sometimes paid teens $50 an hour to remove the explosive powder from fireworks and place it in storage jars, the affidavit said.
That led to a search warrant for the brothers’ apartment. Although it was not clear what they intended to do with the explosives, both face federal bomb-making charges.
“This case likely saved many, many lives,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.