RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — He’s a doctor and a passionate supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but prosecutors say the New Jersey physician was hiding something in his apartment that could have proved deadly.
In court, Dr. Roberto Rivera was calm and meticulous, making sure he understood the charges lodged against him.
“You’ve been charged with recklessly failing to take reasonable measure to prevent or mitigate widespread injury or damage by handling or storing hazardous materials,” Central Municipal Court Judge Jae Kim said.
Prosecutors and the FBI say the 60-year-old doctor was stockpiling large amounts of bomb-making materials in his second-floor apartment inside a quaint Ridgewood house. They also say he had a stash of weapons, including an assault rifle that he wasn’t permitted to own, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
The doctor’s roommate, who refused to give her name, was asked if she ever noticed explosives or weapons.
“No. No, I was surprised as anyone else,” she said.
The woman said she is Dr. Rivera’s roommate and perhaps only friend.
“I guess he’s a quiet, shy guy, kind of lives up in his head. He’s an intellectual,” the woman said.
Investigators have not said what the doctor intended to do with the chemicals and weapons. His roommate said Rivera, who last practiced internal medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, was deeply involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, volunteering his services to protesters.
“He’s a nice guy,” Rivera’s roommate said.
While investigators wouldn’t say why Rivera was stockpiling the bomb-making materials, the doctor has not been charged federally.
He is being held at the county jail on $1 million bail.
The judge entered a not guilty plea on Rivera’s behalf. Rivera said he had not retained an attorney yet.
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