- Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56, has been identified as the suspect in connection with mail bombs sent to several high-ranking Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump this week.
- Public records show that Sayoc has previously been arrested on charges including battery and shoplifting.
- Authorities could be seen on Friday towing a white van covered in bumper stickers expressing support for Trump and Republican causes.
The Florida man arrested in connection with the explosives sent in the mail this week to several high-ranking Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump has been identified by law-enforcement officials as Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56.
Here’s what we know about the suspect so far.
He’s a registered Republican
Public records show that Sayoc has been registered as a Republican in Florida since at least March 2016 and that he voted in the 2016 presidential election.
The suspect lives in Florida but has ties to New York
Shortly after Sayoc was arrested on Friday morning in Plantation, Florida, multiple news outlets reported that he had ties to New York, where authorities found several of the mail bombs this week.
Public records list a previous residence for Sayoc at an address in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Mill Basin in 1987.
Public records show he has an extensive criminal history – including an arrest for threatening to blow up a utility company
Sayoc’s criminal history goes back to June 1992, when he was arrested in Florida, though the charges were not specified.
In subsequent years, he was arrested at least 10 other times, in North Carolina and Florida. Most of the charges are petty crimes like shoplifting, but he has previously been charged with battery and illegally possessing anabolic steroids.
Perhaps the most troubling arrest was in 2002, when he threatened to blow up a utility company for turning his electricity off.
A police report obtained by CNN shows that Sayoc wrote the utility company a letter, saying the attack would “be worse than September 11th.”
Ronald S. Lowry, Sayoc’s longtime attorney, told the network that he doesn’t believe his former client ever intended to actually follow through on the threat. Lowry says Sayoc was sentenced to one year on probation.
The attorney added that Sayoc had “trouble conforming” and “didn’t fit it.”
Sayoc’s record also shows several traffic infractions.
A van towed shortly after Sayoc’s arrest was covered with Trump bumper stickers
Shortly after Sayoc’s arrest, authorities in Plantation were seen towing a white van covered in pro-Republican and pro-Trump bumper stickers, including one that said “CNN Sucks.”
Law-enforcement officials have not confirmed whether the vehicle belongs to Sayoc.
He had been living in his van
A law enforcement official told CNN that Sayoc had been living in his van at the time of his arrest, after being kicked out of his parents’ home.
A 2012 bankruptcy petition, viewed by the New York Times, also shows that he was living with his mum and had no furniture when he went broke.
It’s unclear if that van is the one that law enforcement agents towed in Plantation, Florida on Friday.
A Twitter account appearing to belong to him includes many pro-Trump posts
A Twitter profile using his first and middle name surfaced on Friday. Pictures posted by the account appear to match his mugshot, and a photo of bumper stickers on a vehicle appears to match the ones on the van towed on Friday.
Several posts express support for Trump and the Republican Party and criticism of Democratic candidates and donors, as well as news outlets.
Sayoc’s exact political ideology isn’t clear, as the sentences in the tweets are often incoherent. Several recent posts include only the phrase “Go Trump and Kanye.”
A woman on Twitter said that Sayoc had threatened her life on the website.
Rochelle Ritchie, a former press secretary for the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, said that she reported the account to Twitter but that the company determined “there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behaviour.”
Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!! pic.twitter.com/xBY8FMbqnq
— R O C H E L L E (@RochelleRitchie) October 26, 2018
Some of his Facebook posts had been taken down
A Facebook spokesman told CNN that several of Sayoc’s posts on the social networking site have been reported for violating community standards in the past, and subsequently removed.
Some of those removals were done after Facebook users complained, while others were found through Facebook’s own detection system, the spokesperson said.
The company did not detail how many posts were removed or go into details about the nature of the posts.
He claims to be a Native American
Sayoc appears to claim Seminole heritage.
Several tweets from the Twitter account linked to him describe claims of Seminole heritage, and one of the bumper stickers on the van towed in the case says “Native Americans for Trump.”
Public records also show that Sayoc is the president of “Proud Native American One Low Price Drycleaning Inc.” and the manager of “Native American Catering and Vending,” both based in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida, one of the three federally recognised Seminole tribes, said in a statement on Friday that it had found no evidence that Sayoc had ever been a member or employee.
He appears to have attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
A spokesman for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte told the New York Times that a man with the same name attended the school for one academic year, between 1983 and 1984. The university is now looking into whether they have any records on his behaviour from that time.
DNA helped investigators track down Sayoc
At a press conference on Friday afternoon, FBI Director Chris Wray said investigators were able to confirm that a fingerprint found on one of the packages sent to Rep. Maxine Waters was Sayoc’s.
Law-enforcement officials also told CNN that Sayoc’s mobile phone was tracked before his arrest.
He faces up to 58 years in prison
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday that Sayoc faced five federal charges: interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and other persons, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting current and former federal officers.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.