A rioter who stormed the US Capitol last week wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “Camp Auschwitz” was arrested Wednesday morning in Virginia, according to a law enforcement official.
CNN was first to report that the man in the sweatshirt was identified as Robert Keith Packer of Virginia. A law enforcement official told CNN that Packer was picked up in Newport News, Virginia.
An image of Packer inside the Capitol, whose sweatshirt bore the name of the Nazi concentration camp where about 1.1 million people were killed during World War II, has evoked shock and disbelief on social media. The bottom of his shirt stated, “Work brings freedom,” which is the rough translation of the phrase “Arbeit macht frei” that was on the concentration camp’s gates.
Packer has a criminal history including three convictions for driving under the influence and a felony conviction for forging public records, according to Virginia court records. He was charged in 2016 for allegedly trespassing. The case was later dismissed.
Packer was among the mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters who unlawfully broke into the US Capitol building on January 6 as Congress was in the process of counting the Electoral College votes and certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Wrongly convinced the election was stolen from Trump, the rioters fought with police officers and attacked members of the media, smashed windows, vandalized and ransacked offices, and stole federal property.
Five people — including US Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick — have died, and many more were injured, as a result of the insurrection. One woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police as the crowd breached the building and three others suffered medical emergencies that proved fatal.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department said it has charged over 70 cases and opened more than 170 case files — “with the numbers expected to grow into the hundreds” — in its federal investigation.