The right-wing provocateur charged with leaving a fake explosive on a Tesla outside a Queens mall was stopped and questioned by police a couple hours before the bogus bomb was discovered, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Louis Shenker, 22, and an accomplice were seen on the ramp to a parking garage next to the Queens Place mall in East Elmhurst about 4:50 a.m. Monday, officials said.
The two men were were trying to charge the Tesla, an electric vehicle with a Nevada loaner license plate, with an electric bicycle, according to court records. The Tesla’s hood, trunk and doors were all open.
When the officer approached, Shenker showed the cop his driver’s license and explained that the Tesla belonged to his friend and had stalled on them. A tow truck was on the way, he claimed.
At 7:35 a.m., about two and a half hours later, workers at the mall found the abandoned Tesla, which was later determined to be stolen, covered in blankets and cardboard boxes, officials said. A dog was seated inside the car.
There was also a device — a mix of wires, wood, and a can of lighter fluid left on the car — which the NYPD Bomb Squad later determined to be inert, police said.
There was also a “Black Lives Matter” sign on the vehicle. Police believe the activist group had no connection to the incident and that Shenker left the sign behind in an effort to discredit the movement.
Once the bomb was determined to be a dud, cops removed the husky from the car and gave it water, officials said.
Shenker, a resident of Amherst, Mass., surrendered to Brooklyn cops Tuesday morning.
By Tuesday night, he was facing a Queens Criminal Court judge, charged with placing a false bomb or hazardous substance and making a terroristic threat.
If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
“Sadly, we live in a world where terror attacks are far too real,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “Fake bombs and hoaxes of any kind create panic and fear.”
Cops were still looking for Shenker’s accomplice Wednesday.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said Shenker was also caught on mall surveillance cameras around the time the Tesla was dropped off.
“This guy is a bit of a radical,” Monahan said on the “Joe Piscopo Show” on 970 AM Wednesday morning, adding that Shenker has a “mental history.”
“We’ve dealt with him a few times,” Monahan said. “He has a little bit of a problem.”
Shenker was busted twice last week for burning posters near Gracie Mansion. In a bizarre rant filmed and posted on social media he read from the bible and said he was inside the “Yiddish autonomous zone.”
On Jan. 1, Manhattan prosecutors charged him with two counts of arson and one count of criminal mischief for taking a blow torch to memorial photos of George Floyd affixed to NYPD barricades on E. 86th St. near East End Ave, court documents show.
The baby-faced would-be bomber also runs a podcast called “The Minuteman Broadcast,” where he airs his extremist views, and recently appeared on crazed right-wing host Alex Jones’ “Infowars” show. He questioned mask wearing and President-elect Joe Biden’s win against Trump in the U.S. presidential election during his recent chat with Jones, a Sandy Hook denier.
Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and even the streaming adult video site YouPorn have banned Jones’ alt-right show for disseminating debunked conspiracy theories.
The American Spectator profiled Shenker last year after he was expelled from the University of Massachusetts for racist harassment and hate crimes.
According to reports, his expulsion came not long after showing up to taunt a UMass Amherst rally against white supremacy, racism, and Donald Trump. Bearing a sign supporting the commander-in-chief, Shenker turned up to the rally in a MAGA cap.