Former Stuyvesant High School music teacher Theophilus Burroughs, who was arrested for selling guns undercover cops he thought were connected to terrorists, was arraigned yesterday on an 84-count indictment. Burroughs, 49, was busted with 14 others in the gun sting, and pleaded not guilty to charges. The father of two, who faces up to 25 years in prison, reportedly wet his pants during the arrest. But the Post wants to make sure you know that none of this could have happened without the help of a few extraordinary citizens: The Post's reporters.
Burroughs taught Beginning Band, Music Appreciation, and AP Music Theory at Stuyvesant, but spent more than a year in one of the notorious "rubber rooms" in Sept. 2007 for disciplinary reasons. He bounced back to become dean of the Cobble Hill School for American Studies, "where he did not make friends," according to the Post. He was bounced back to the rubber room in Feb. 2009, for using "vulgar language" with a student. He went on unpaid leave last Sept., but kept his job until this summer, at which point he was selling guns.
John Crudele of the Post recaps how inaction and bureaucracy in Albany almost stopped the undercover operation in the heart of the investigation. Police were onto Burroughs early on, when he one of many trafficking in illegal cigarettes at the Westchester Square warehouse in the Bronx. When Burroughs moved into selling guns to what he presumed were terrorist sympathizers, the investigation heated up. But because of a dispute over EZ Pass and meal charges, communication broke down between Albany and the operatives; as a result, Burroughs went about his business for weeks without any surveillance, even taking a trip to the Caribbean. It was the efforts of one unnamed cop, who went without pay while taking out personal loans, that closed the case...that and the helpful hand of The Mighty Post, who had both a "bit part" and a "bigger role" in the case:
The Post had a bit part in this drama as well. Some of my colleagues and I have known about this operation for weeks; we cut a deal with authorities to keep it under wraps.
We also inadvertently had a bigger role in nabbing Burroughs and about two dozen cigarette scammers. When I first wrote about the cigarette stings in this column back in June, I purposely didn't mention the one in the Bronx to preserve its viability.
Authorities told us that since the Bronx wasn't among the undercover operations we listed, the bad guys thought it was safe to continue doing business there.
They were wrong.