At about 5 p.m. yesterday, an unidentified thief with a police record broke into a red van that had been parked at 53rd Street and Second Avenue in Brooklyn's Sunset Park for about a month, a source told The Post.
He was stunned when he looked inside - it was filled with gas cans and Styrofoam cups containing a mysterious white substance with protruding wires and switches.
The street is lined with brownstones, and there's a ballet studio and a small Muslim school. So he drove the van 15 blocks to 37th Street and parked it at a desolate waterfront location behind the Costco store and next to some little-used piers.
Then he got out and called a cop he knows from his run-ins with the law.
"He did the right thing," a high-ranking officer said. "And he possibly saved a lot of people's lives."
Another source said cops are unlikely to file charges for the break-in.
Story by Larry Celona.
I like the redemptive nature of this story as well. Don't get me wrong -- today's street criminal is no walk in the park, but even then, most are not psychopathic killers bent on destruction. This guy is probably a long-time loser, has a record and is addicted to drugs or alcohol. None of that justifies his conduct or excuses him from liability, but he's not a clear-eyed radical from the middle class bent on wanton destruction. If all else is faulty -- Bush's policy of treating terrorism as a national security issue and not a criminal justice issue was spot on.