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Feds find components of pipe bomb at home of former Virginia cop charged in Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/22/2021 Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
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WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors who are urging a judge to revoke pretrial release of a former Virginia cop charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot filed additional evidence Thursday that components of a pipe bomb were found at his home.

Thomas Robertson, a former police sergeant in Rocky Mount, is charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. 

Federal prosecutors filed the information Thursday about the pipe bomb as a supplement to a June 30 motion urging District Judge Christopher Cooper to revoke Robertson’s release.

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The day before that filing, police had found a loaded M4 rifle and partially assembled pipe bomb while searching Robertson's home in Ferrum, Virginia.

Police had searched his home related to the online purchase of "an arsenal of 34 firearms," according to court documents. Prosecutors said Robertson violated the conditions of his pre-trial release and showed "utter disregard" for the court.

a group of people posing for the camera: The Justice Department released a photo of Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, two off-duty police officers with the city of Rocky Mount, Va., inside the U.S. Capitol during the deadly riot Jan. 6. © U.S. Department of Justice The Justice Department released a photo of Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, two off-duty police officers with the city of Rocky Mount, Va., inside the U.S. Capitol during the deadly riot Jan. 6.

Robertson had been ordered not to possess a firearm, destructive device or other dangerous weapon, according to the filing from Channing Phillips, acting U.S. attorney in D.C. and Elizabeth Aloi, assistant U.S. attorney.

In the updated filing Thursday, the prosecutors provided the judge with an FBI report describing the components of the pipe bomb. Authorities found a pipe with end caps and a fuse affixed to one end with an ammunition can labeled “ALERRT kit, props and booby trap sims,” according to court records. About 50 cans of black or smokeless powder were found in the workspace around the pipe, according to court records.

The FBI explosives examiner who studied the materials said in a report that “the submitted items of evidence are components that could be used to readily assemble one improvised explosive device.”

Roberton's lawyer, Mark Rollins, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Rollins argued in a previous court filings that the AR-15 that authorities found belonged to the defendant’s son, Hunter Robertson, while he was out of the house visiting his pretrial release manager. The lawyer argued that the government couldn’t prove the weapons ordered online had actually arrived at his house. And the components of the pipe bomb were used for a training course that Robertson taught.

“This pipe is not active as it is a prop for training,” the filing said.

Robertson and another officer, Jacob Fracker, were fired Jan. 26 after charges were filed against them. The two men, who were off-duty at the time, were photographed inside the Capitol in front of a statue of John Stark, a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.

Robertson and Fracker were identified from social media posts. Robertson said on Instagram that “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business," according to court records. "The right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Feds find components of pipe bomb at home of former Virginia cop charged in Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection

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