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Illegal bullets found in home of man who allegedly threatened Obama

John Brek appears on a closed circuit television

John Brek appears on a closed circuit television for a video arraignment in Newark, N.J. on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009. Credit: AP

Fifty "cop killer" bullets and a stolen rifle were among the firearms arsenal confiscated from the home of the Newark Liberty International Airport security guard who allegedly threatened President Barack Obama, law enforcement authorities said.

John Brek, 55, a six-year employee of FJC Security Services in Floral Park, pleaded not guilty on three state felony charges and remained in jail Thursday on a $220,000 bail bond.

He was arrested Tuesday, the night before Obama was due to land in Newark to campaign for Gov. Jon Corzine. Brek told another airport worker "he cut a hole in the fence to be able to shoot the president, that he was just a short distance away," according to the complaint filed in court. Brek also "simulated holding a rifle in the direction of where the president would be, with the purpose to put in him imminent fear of death," the complaint said.

Port Authority and FJC officials Thursday afternoon did not respond to inquiries about the screening of guard applicants, training requirements or past incidents involving FJC security workers.

Port Authority spokesman John Kelly described Brek and other FJC guards as a second layer of security. "They do employee checkpoints," he said. "They do pre-credentialed, pre-vetted employees. They don't deal with the general public."

Brek gave police permission to search his Linden, N.J., home, where officers found eight handguns, which he had permits for, and 35 rifles, which do not need permits, officials said Thursday. One of the rifles was reported stolen 11 years ago in Alabama, the complaint said. Brek knew the rifle was stolen when he acquired it, the complaint alleged.

Officers found 50 rounds of 44-caliber, 240 grain-jacketed Remington hollow point bullets, illegal in some states, including New Jersey, because they can pierce cops' bullet-resistant armor, said Paul Loriquet, spokesman for the Essex County prosecutor's office.

The three state felony charges Brek faces are third-degree making terroristic threats, third-degree stolen property and fourth-degree possession of prohibited devices. Prosecutors sought a psychiatric evaluation.

Brek worked at the security shack at the gates of a Continental Airlines cargo building on the airport tarmac, Loriquet said.

FJC officials Thursday would only reissue Wednesday's statement that said the firm is cooperating with authorities.

According to a Newark airport security agent job listing on its Web site, FJC requires candidates to have passed a drug test, have a current training certificate, no criminal convictions and a 10-year verifiable work history. Until New Jersey passed a 2004 law requiring security guard licenses, there were no guard training requirements, however.

The firm has made headlines with several incidents in recent years, most notably with one of its largest clients, the Port Authority. In the most recent case, two FJC guards were fired last month after being caught dozing in guard booths at the George Washington Bridge.

FJC was hired in 2003 by the authority to help patrol many of its facilities. A year later, a man killed himself with a shotgun at the Ground Zero pit, where FJC guards were on gate duty. The Port Authority launched an investigation into the firm. Kelly could not supply details of the probe's outcome by press time.

In March, a FJC guard saved a drunken man who had stumbled onto the tracks of a Newark PATH station.

The union, which covers security guards, including Brek, Thursday described FJC as a "responsible" firm. "They should not be judged by the alleged wrongdoing of one or two security officers," said spokesman Matt Nerzig.

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