While some people charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol have shown remorse for their actions and taken plea deals, Thomas Robertson has posted defiant messages on social media and, according to court records, defied a judge’s order to amass an arsenal of weapons.
The former Rocky Mount, Virginia, police officer who stormed the Capitol with his cop buddy and posted a photograph of them inside the building on Instagram was arrested Jan. 13 and released on several conditions, one of which was not to possess firearms.
But when FBI agents searched Robertson’s home on Tuesday they found a loaded M4 rifle, large amounts of ammunition, and a partially assembled pipe bomb, according to a court document filed Wednesday.
The search came after the FBI reviewed emails in Robertson’s Yahoo account that led to records from Gunbroker.com. The records showed that Robertson had ordered 34 weapons from the website, “transporting them in interstate commerce while under felony indictment” after he was indicted on felony charges in January.
According to the court filing, agents also found a box labeled with a blue piece of tape that included the words “booby trap.”
“Inside the box, agents found a metal pipe with two ends caps, with a fuse inserted into a hole that had been drilled into the device; epoxy had been used around the sides of the fuse to secure it,” prosecutors wrote in a motion to revoke Robertson’s release order. “Although this device did not contain explosive powder, such powder was found nearby in the out-building’s reloading station.”
It was not the first time authorities have reported finding weapons at Roberton’s home. After his Jan. 13 arrest, Robertson was also ordered to relocate any firearms in his home within 48 hours.
“Nevertheless, four days later, while executing a search warrant at the defendant’s house in connection with the Capitol riots charges, law enforcement discovered and seized eight firearms from the home,” prosecutors said.
Officers also found large amounts of ammunition, as well as what appeared to be equipment used for reloading.
In the new motion, prosecutors argued that Robertson is a danger to the public and should be jailed until his trial. They said the former police officer’s “extensive and flagrant violations of the terms of his release order, including numerous violations of the federal firearms laws, strongly support revocation of his pretrial release in this case.”
“This conduct, coupled with his calls for future violence, shows that no condition or combination of conditions can adequately protect the public from the defendant, and warrants immediate action by the court through the issuance of an arrest warrant,” they added.
Robertson had not immediately filed a response by Thursday afternoon and BuzzFeed News could not reach him for comment. He is accused of obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or on Capitol grounds.
Robertson stormed the Capitol with fellow police officer Jacob Fracker, who faces similar charges, and posted a picture of them inside the building on Instagram. Both men pleaded not guilty in February.
In Facebook posts on Jan. 8, two days after the deadly attack, Robertson said he was proud of his actions and repeatedly called for further violence.
“Well.....Fuck you. Being nice,polite,writing letters and sending emails hasn't worked...All thats left is violence and YOU and your ‘Friends on the other side of the isle’ have pushed Americans into that corner,” he wrote in one post documented by prosecutors. “The picture of Senators cowering on the floor with genuine fear on their faces is the most American thing I have seen in my life. Once....for real....you people ACTUALLY realized who you work for.”
In another post, Robertson wrote, “Peace is done. Now is the time for all the braggart ‘Patriots’ to buckle armor or shut the fuck up. Facebook warriors time is done. The next revolution started 1/6/21 in case you ‘Im ready’ and ‘standing by” guys missed it.”
“The next revolution started in DC 1/6/21,” he said in another post the same day. “The only voice these people will now listen to is VIOLENCE. So,respectfully. Buckle armor or just stay at home.”
It’s unclear what Robertson planned to do with the M4, partial pipe bomb, and 34 guns he ordered. The FBI said he was storing the guns with a security company called Tactical Operations Inc. in nearby Roanoke. The owner of the company told the FBI that Robertson had been in his store to handle several of the guns as recently as one week ago.
Robertson and Fracker, who were put on leave and later fired in January, were scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on Thursday, but it was pushed back to August.