Cops have busted twin brothers from the Bronx for allegedly stockpiling explosive materials and crafting bombs inside their home — with help from high school students.
Christian Toro, a former teacher at Harlem Prep, and his brother, Tyler Toro, were both arrested by the FBI on Thursday as part of a joint investigation with the NYPD.
The two 27-year-olds had been forging explosive devices inside their Pelham Parkway apartment since last October — using gunpowder from fireworks as the base for their bomb-making, according to the complaint.
A search of the residence turned up a slew of dangerous chemicals, including 20 pounds of iron oxide and aluminum powder, which form thermite when combined.
A “diary” was also allegedly found — which contained disturbing, handwritten notes, such as “WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW” and “WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE.”
As if that wasn’t enough, federal agents then discovered “a yellow backpack in a living area of the apartment, which contained, among other things, a purple index card with handwriting that reads, ‘UNDER THE FULL MOON THE SMALL ONES WILL KNOW TERROR.”
The complaint, obtained by The Post on Thursday afternoon, outlines numerous allegations against the Toro brothers — including how they’d been researching the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and paying teens to construct their makeshift weapons.
Christian allegedly met the youths through his job as a teacher and offered to pay them $50 per hour to “break apart fireworks and store the powder that came out of the fireworks in containers,” the complaint says.
Investigators spoke with “multiple students” who said that at least two people had agreed to work for the Toros in exchange for cash.
“Based on the interviews, it appears that the students visited the apartment between in or around October 2017 and in or around early January 2018,” the complaint says.
Authorities were tipped off earlier this year by officials from Harlem Prep after they found instructions on how to construct explosives on Christian’s laptop.
The FBI had launched an investigation back in December after the school received a bomb threat, but they didn’t start probing Christian until after the information was found on his computer.
“This case likely saved many, many lives,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at a press conference Thursday night.
A female student, who was having a sexual relationship with Christian, was arrested for making the threat against Harlem Prep — and the young man resigned soon after, according to law enforcement sources.
He turned his laptop in after stepping down, and a technical specialist at Harlem Prep later found the bomb-making info, the complaint says.
It included an online document known as the “Explosives Book” — which “provides instructions for, among other things, manufacturing explosive devices.”
On Feb. 8, federal agents questioned Christian about what was found, but he maintained his innocence.
“[Christian] stated that he had never built a bomb and had only looked at the Explosives Book’s table of contents,” the complaint says.
It wasn’t until investigators spoke with students at Harlem Prep that they found out the truth — and were able to get a search warrant for Christian’s apartment, where he and his brother live, the complaint says.
Upon entering the apartment on Thursday, agents allegedly found the explosive materials, diary and backpack — and promptly arrested the Toros.
“Information from citizens stopped a significant threat to public safety,” said FBI New York division assistant director Bill Sweeney. “We have no indication that there is any additional threat from these individuals.”
The brothers both face federal bomb-making charges, and Christian is facing an additional count of distributing explosive materials to a minor.
He was previously arrested on Jan. 31 for the rape of a 15-year-old girl. Sources said she is the same teen who made the bomb threat to Harlem Prep.
Neighbors and friends of the Toro brothers described them as “normal people” — who went to work and stayed out of trouble.
“They were very nice and respectful,” explained resident Juan Chico. “They were into normal things. I think one of them liked basketball. It wasn’t anything weird.”
Chico added, “I’m shocked right now because you don’t think it’s something that would happen right next to you. When they got arrested this morning there were a lot of cops and [the brothers] didn’t have any expression on their face. They were talking to the cops.”
Maria Torres, who also lives nearby, said the twins were “always together.”
“The mom used to tell me she was so proud of them,” she told The Post. “They were her pride and joy. She told me one of them became a school teacher and the other was traveling. Recently, one of them shaved their heads and grew a beard — but you don’t think anything of it.”
Torres added, “I think their mom did a great job raising them. They went to college, they worked, they were always so polite, to me at least.”
Cecilia Valdez, another neighbor, agreed — saying she “can’t believe this.”
“I was just with them yesterday in the elevators,” she said. “They were college educated, they held the door for you whenever they saw you.”
Additional reporting by CJ Sullivan
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