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Great Neck surgeon heard making threats in bar is charged; weapons stash seized, cops say

An extensive cache of weapons and armor was seized from the vehicle and homes of a Great Neck plastic surgeon who was overheard at a Westchester bistro bar threatening to kill his estranged wife and her family, authorities said Wednesday.  (Credit: News 12 Westchester)

An extensive cache of weapons and armor was seized from the vehicle and homes of a Great Neck plastic surgeon who was overheard at a Westchester bistro bar threatening to kill his estranged wife and her family, authorities said Wednesday. 

The arrest of Matthew Bonanno, 47, has launched a local and federal multiagency investigation into where he got the weapons and what he was going to do with them, beyond the threat made Monday while he was at Growler's Beer Bistro in Tuckahoe Village, Westchester County authorities said at a news conference.

Inside his vehicle, parked in the driveway of his estranged wife's Tuckahoe Village home, police found five assault rifles fully loaded with high-capacity magazines, heavy ballistic body armor, full-head cover face masks, pepper spray foggers, more than 1600 rounds of ammunition, 29 high-capacity loaded magazines and scopes, Tuckahoe Village Police Chief John Constanzo told reporters at a news conference with Village Mayor Greg Luisi and Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino.

Armed with a search warrant for his Great Neck home, police seized more assault rifles, smoke grenades, high-capacity magazines and other weapons, the chief said, while officers found three unlicensed handguns in Bonanno's Westchester home in Mount Pleasant. 

Police also confiscated several electronic items from Bonanno and plan to do a forensic analysis of them. 

"The magnitude of weaponry and other paraphernalia found is of great concern to us," Scarpino said. "We will find out how these guns came into the defendant's possession, how they got to Westchester and why he had such an unusual collection of weapons in his vehicle as well as other locations." 

When Bonanno was arrested without incident Monday night outside the Growler's Beer Bistro in Tuckahoe Village, he appeared to be drunk and "in a state of crisis," officials said. Bonanno had an illegal, loaded Glock semiautomatic handgun in the vehicle of his friend, who had driven him to the bar, authorities said.

"The police were contacted by someone who heard the defendant say he wanted to kill his wife and family, and the witness also believed this defendant to be armed,"chief John Constanzo told reporters.

Bonanno, of East Shore Road, was charged with several counts of second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and officials said more charges are expected to be filed. He was arraigned Tuesday in Tuckahoe Village Court and held without bail at the Westchester County jail.

Information on his attorney, if any, was not available Wednesday night.

Authorities praised the person who called police. "Without that individual coming forward," Luisi said, "this amount of weaponry would have been out on the streets and Lord knows what would have happened."

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