A man armed with a loaded AK-47 has been arrested in New York City after officials say he spent two days lurking outside a dissident Iranian journalist’s home.
According to a federal complaint, Khalid Mehdiyev, 23, was found Thursday with the loaded assault rifle, a separate high-capacity magazine, and more than $1,000 worth of cash hidden in a suitcase in his car.
For two days prior, it says, he had been sitting in his gray Subaru Forester SUV on a Brooklyn street with an Illinois license plate for several hours, focusing on the home of dissident journalist Masih Alinejad.
Alinejad shared Ring camera footage on her Twitter account Sunday, which shows Mehdiyev on the stoop of her Brooklyn home. He is seen holding his phone while on her property and appears to be recording something.
During that time, federal officials say he began acting suspiciously – ordering food to be delivered to his car, looking inside the home window, and even attempting to open the front door.
He was eventually stopped by the NYPD on Thursday around 3 pm when he rolled through a stop sign. Cops at the time found he was driving without a license and placed him under arrest.
It was only after that arrest that officers found the loaded AK-47 with a separate high-capacity magazine, 66 rounds of ammo, and a suitcase full of cash.
Two other license plates from other states were also found, as was an expired employment authorization card from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Mehdiyev is now facing charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle, aggravated unlicensed operator, and driving without a license in New York. He is also being charged with a federal weapons possession charge.
He is due back in Rye Criminal Court on August 2, as FBI and NYPD officials continue investigating whether he was surveilling Alinejad’s home and, if so, whether he was acting alone.
Mehdiyev’s arrest happened almost one year since Alinejad said Iranian officials were plotting to kidnap her and bring her back to the authoritarian country.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by DailyMail.com, Mehdiyev first arrived on Brooklyn street, where Alinejad lives, on July 27.
He was spotted returning on July 28, when he stayed in his car for several hours.
‘Mehdiyev behaved suspiciously during that time: among other things, he exited and entered the Subaru several times, ordered food to be delivered to the Subaru, approached the Residence, appeared to attempt to look inside the windows of the Residence and attempted to open the front door of the Residence,’ Special Agent David Kasse wrote in his report.
New York City cops finally caught him later that day when he rolled through a stop sign, Kasse explained and discovered he was driving with a suspended license.
An ensuing search of the NYPD database revealed that a Subaru was issued a parking ticket on July 23 on the same Brooklyn street, and Mehdiyev was taken into custody.
As cops searched his vehicle afterward, they found the gun, ammunition, cash, and other license plates along with documents listing him as a Yonkers, New York resident.
Meanwhile, at the NYPD precinct house in Brooklyn, Kasse alleges, Mehdiyev told police he had been staying in Yonkers, but the rent was too high there, and he was looking for a new place to live in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
He is said to have told the cops he only tried to open the house’s front door so he could knock on an inside door to ask if he could rent a room but decided against it out of fear he might wake up a sleeping or sick resident. He said he figured he had cash on him so he could rent a hotel room.
Mehdiyev also reportedly told cops that he had no knowledge of the gun in the car — before cops even questioned him about it.
He later confessed that the gun was his and that he had been in Brooklyn ‘because he was looking for someone.’
At that point, court documents say, Mehdiyev invoked his right to a lawyer and refused to answer any more questions.