A former Stuyvesant HS teacher was busted last night for selling high-powered weapons to undercover operatives he thought were connected to Middle East terror organizations, The Post has learned.
Theophilus Burroughs wet his pants when he was slapped with cuffs at a Bronx warehouse, where he was arrested in a sting operation, law-enforcement sources said. The seats on a van waiting to transport him to the 49th Precinct had to be lined with plastic.
The arrest caps a yearlong investigation that saw Burroughs allegedly negotiate the sale of firearms -- including AK-47s, assault rifles with scopes and .40-caliber guns -- during "deals" with informants in which he praised Hamas and Hezbollah and suggested killing cops and Jews, sources said.
Burroughs, 49, a former Marine from Newark, was on unpaid medical leave from the Department of Education.
He showed up at the Westchester Square warehouse expecting to collect a cool $10,000 for a pair of night-vision goggles, two bulletproof vests and 200,000 counterfeit cigarette stamps, a source said.
Burroughs was instead hauled away by city and state tax agents, and investigators from the Bronx DA's Office.
He faces a slew of charges, including weapons possession and forgery, the source said.
Burroughs began his teaching career as a sub in 1992, and taught music at Stuyvesant in 2002 and 2003.
He went on unpaid medical leave from a Brooklyn high school in September 2009 -- around the time he first went to the Bronx warehouse, where he allegedly bought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of untaxed cigarettes from informants, sources said.
But he soon set his sights on a more deadly deal, allegedly proposing firearm sales on his third visit.
He later referred to Hamas as "my people" and declared, "Hezbollah good, Hezbollah strong," a source said.
On another occasion, the informants gave him a Koran and said they wanted to do "something big." He suggested they blow up a police station, a police car or the Jewish Community Center on Amsterdam Avenue at West 76th Street, the source said.Burroughs even brought the informants to South Carolina on multiple occasions to meet his gun connections and handle the exchanges, sources said.
Following one deal, Burroughs told an informant, "This gun has a body on it" -- and instructed the informant to scratch off the serial number, a source said.
He also allegedly boasted he knew how to mix gunpowder for a grenade and said he could secure fertilizer used in bomb-making.
Aside from criminal charges, Burroughs is also under investigation by the Department of Education for a February 2009 incident of alleged misconduct at the Cobble Hill School for American Studies. Administrators are taking steps to fire him, said a spokeswoman.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona
Theophilus Burroughs, who is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to an 84-count indictment yesterday, began the first of two disciplinary stints in September 2007 for reasons the Department of Education could not explain.
"He didn't mix with fellow roomers," a source said of Burroughs, 49.
Once freed, Burroughs landed a job as dean of the Cobble Hill School for American Studies, "where he did not make friends," the source said.
He went on unpaid leave in September, but it took administrators another nine months to bring official charges and moved to give him the ax.
By then, he was allegedly a full-blown arms dealer.
"He expressed his desire for the weapons to be shipped to agents in Hamas," ADA Graham Van Epps said told a Bronx judge, citing Burrough's belief guns he sold to informants were being sent to Middle East terrorist groups.
Burroughs was first caught up in the DA's sting operation Aug. 17, 2009, looking to buy untaxed cigarettes at a warehouse run by city and state tax agents, according to an indictment unsealed yesterday.
About five weeks later -- on his eighth visit -- Burroughs offered two guns for sale. On Oct. 20, he sold a semiautomatic Walther P99 pistol to confidential informants and was given an $800 credit toward cigarettes, court papers said.
Between that day and May 19, Burroughs arranged the sale of a dozen weapons -- including two Norinco SKS assault rifles, an AK-47 assault rifle, one Hi Point .45-caliber pistol, two Smith and Wesson pistols and two magazine rounds, the documents claim.
On March 10, Burroughs gave "a price list for firearms that [he] could obtain" and, on June 16, he "received approximately $1,500 as a down payment for a future sale of firearms," court papers state.
Aside from gunrunning, Burroughs purchased more than $1 million worth of untaxed cigarettes during 61 visits to the warehouse between Aug. 17, 2009, and July 20, court documents show.
Burroughs faces up to 25 years in jail if found guilty of firearm sales, tax evasion, conspiracy and money laundering.
Burrough's lawyer, Michael D'Ambrosio, insisted, "Most of the rhetoric used in court was meant to inflame."Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/teach_rubber_bullets_sqZc1capo0mmrfeZgedSnK?CMP=OTC-rss&FEEDNAME=#ixzz0znTDsEaOEx-NYC Teacher Attempted To Send Weapons To Terror Groups - http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/terrorist_sting_nets_city_teach_LiLmMuqtKkTgQ9eqz02PVJ#ixzz0znRkKuO6