- Investigators said they found a makeshift explosive at an accused Capitol rioter’s home.
- But Thomas Robertson’s lawyer says it was a training prop for law enforcement.
- Robertson is a former police officer with the Rocky Mountain Police Department in Virginia.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Federal investigators found what appears to be an improvised explosive at an accused Capitol rioter’s home, but his lawyers said the “pipe bomb” is simply a training tool used by law enforcement.
Thomas Robertson, a former police officer with the Rocky Mountain Police Department in Virginia, breached the Capitol on January 6, prosecutors allege in court documents. He was still employed as an officer and was off-duty when he entered the building. Robertson has pleaded not guilty.
Just days after granting Robertson pretrial release, investigators said they found a bevy of weapons in his home and evidence that he recently purchased 34 more guns. While searching his garage in June, authorities found an apparent makeshift pipe bomb in an ammunition box labeled “ALERRT kit, props and booby trap sims.” According to an FBI laboratory report, the ammunition box sat next to a workbench and shelves containing “approximately 50 cans of black or smokeless powder,” a necessary material for making ignition charges, fuses, and bullets.
Prosecutors pushed to revoke his release order after discovering more weapons and the pipe at Robertson’s home, leading Judge G. Michael Harvey to send Robertson back to jail.
Robertson’s attorneys allege that the pipe bomb found in his garage was used to instruct an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training class, also known as “ALERRT.” The defense said Robertson was a “level II” instructor for ALERRT before the police department fired him in the aftermath of January 6.
Investigators also said they discovered fake grenades with fuses at Robertson’s residence. The defense reiterated in a court filing that the fuses were used as a training device to simulate a grenade and asked for Robertson to be let out on house arrest.
Robertson was charged with five crimes in January: obstruction of an official proceeding; aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; and violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds.
He bragged about his involvement in the January 6 attack on social media shortly after the event, prosecutors said in court documents.
“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business,” he wrote, according to a US Capitol Police special agent. “The right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.”
Robertson’s next court date is set for August 3. He is one of at least 586 people who’ve been arrested so far in relation to the Capitol insurrection.