Great NYTblog by Damiano Beltrami
You remember Robert Lopez, the man arrested more than two years ago on St. Felix Street for having fake dynamite that he wanted to turn into a piggy bank?
“I hope this silliness will be laid to rest soon,” he said. “It’s much ado about nothing.”
His trial was postponed again, this time to July 31. The police officers who arrested him were not available because of summer staffing shortages, and a new assistant district attorney, Tim Gearon, has been assigned to the case because the previous one, Raymond Gazer, recently changed jobs.
Mr. Lopez, 38, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted of violating state law 240.62, “placing a false bomb or hazardous substance,” is tackling a difficult economic situation.
Homeless since mid-May, he recently lost his job as a maintenance person at McDonald’s.
“I haven’t talked to him in the last few days because he has no minutes on his phone,” said his sister Angela Lopez, who lives in Fresno, Calif., in a telephone interview. “I don’t know why they are taking him on a string for so long. He is obviously not a terrorist. This is a waste of money for the taxpayers.”
To meet Mr. Lopez, you need only to walk the streets of Fort Greene at night. He wanders around the Brooklyn Academy of Music, stops for small snack in a corner shop, waits for the dawn on a bench on Atlantic Avenue.
“One of my uncles survived outside for years, and he is old,” Mr. Lopez said. “If he can do it, I can do it.”
Mr. Lopez’s lawyer, Joshua Horowitz, said he hopes the case gets through some pre-trial hearings in August and finally goes to trial in September.