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Capitol rioter seen wearing "Camp Auschwitz" shirt arrested

CBS News logo CBS News 1/13/2021 Erin Donaghue
a person posing for the camera: packer.png © WTKR packer.png

A man seen wearing a "Camp Auschwitz" sweatshirt during the U.S. Capitol riots last week has been arrested in Newport News, Virginia, a senior law enforcement official confirmed to CBS News.

a man looking at the camera: Robert Keith Packer / Credit: CBS affiliate WTKR-TV © Provided by CBS News Robert Keith Packer / Credit: CBS affiliate WTKR-TV

Court records say Robert Keith Packer was arrested Wednesday by federal authorities in the Eastern District of Virginia on a warrant out of Washington, D.C. The arrest warrant says he's facing federal charges of unlawfully entering a restricted area and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

The image of the shirt referencing the Nazi concentration camp drew widespread condemnation on social media. In a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday, an FBI agent wrote that the shirt "appears to be a symbol of Nazi hate ideology."  It was one of a number of anti-Semitic symbols and messages seen during the Capitol riots that experts view as part of a disturbing nationwide trend, reports The Associated Press. 

The complaint said that a cooperating witness tipped off the FBI that he recognized the individual seen wearing the shirt in media reports as Packer, a frequent customer at his store near Newport News, Virginia. The witness provided a photo of Packer inside his store on December 11, in which he was wearing the same sweatshirt. 

The complaint says a photo taken of Packer inside the Capitol on January 6 appears to show him among a group holding up a shard of a broken nameplate from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Packer was being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk, according to CBS affiliate WTKR-TV. He appeared virtually Wednesday before a federal magistrate judge, who ordered him released on personal recognizance bond. Packer's release included the conditions that he attend a January 19 virtual hearing in District of Columbia federal court, and that he stay away from the District unless required to be there for court.

FBI has opened more than 170 cases tied to Capitol attacks, more than 70 people charged
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Packer told the judge he would retain his own attorney, but otherwise said little during the hearing. He said he had not seen a federal affidavit in support of the charges against him, which the judge ordered to be unsealed.

More than 70 people are already facing federal and local charges in the January 6 assault that left five dead. Hundreds more charges are expected as federal investigators comb tips, video and social media to identify and arrest suspects across the country. Those already charged face a variety of counts including unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, theft, assault and weapons violations. A team of senior federal prosecutors are investigating more serious charges including sedition and conspiracy related to the "most heinous" acts at the Capitol, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said Tuesday.

Catherine Herridge and Clare Hymes contributed to this report.

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