A former police officer facing charges connected to the U.S. Capitol siege violated the terms of an order for his release by possessing a “loaded M4 rifle and a partially-assembled pipe bomb at his home” and buying an “arsenal of 34 firearms online,” federal prosecutors alleged in a motion to keep the man in jail pending trial.
Filed on Thursday, the motion contains photographs of the what FBI agents allegedly found when searching the home of Thomas Robertson, a 47-year-old former Rocky Mount, Va. police officer.
“When the agents searched Robertson’s house, the FBI found an M4 rifle on the bed in Robertson’s bedroom, with a magazine and round inside the firearm. It is a Model ST-15, with the serial number XTP-00680. Agents also seized several span cans of ammunition and two boxes of 7.62 ammunition at the home; FBI is still assessing whether this is the same ammunition purchased by Robertson since the time of his indictment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi wrote in a 15-page motion to revoke his release order.
“The agents also found what appears to be a partially assembled pipe bomb in an out-building on Robertson’s property,” the motion continues.
The FBI also found a box with the label “Booby Trap,” prosecutors say.
“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,” the motion states. “Although this device did not contain explosive powder, such powder was found nearby in the out-building’s reloading station.”
Following his arrest in January, Robertson was fired along with K9 unit officer Jacob Fracker, 29. Robertson told WSET-TV in a January 12 report that neither he nor Fracker participated in violence or property damage on Jan. 6th.
“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business . . . [t]he right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol,” he is quoted as saying in social media posts, according to the FBI. “Keep poking us.”
According to records maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice, Robertson was arrested on Jan. 13 after a criminal complaint against him was filed on Jan. 12. A grand jury indicted him on Jan. 29. He pleaded not guilty to all counts connected to the Capitol breach on Feb. 25.
Robertson was prohibited as of Jan. 12 of having guns and other weapons and was given a deadline of moving the firearms by the 15th, but authorities said a search warrant executed four days later found weapons including multiple Glocks.
Prosecutors claim the former officer’s “utter disregard for the court’s orders” and “repeated violations of the federal firearms laws” makes him a “danger to the community that no release conditions will adequately mitigate.”
“The court should issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and detain him pending trial,” the motion argues.
On Feb. 17, a search warrant was issued on his Yahoo email account, prosecutors say. Authorities planned on using this in their investigation into the Capitol siege, but they instead discovered evidence he was buying firearms and ammo.
“I absolutely am interested. Price and quantity?” he allegedly wrote on February 13 to a Gmail account holder, who replied, “I have 1000 rounds on stripper clips of M855A1 $1800 shipped insured. I have 2000 rounds loose (delinked) M80A1 $10k shipped or 1000 rounds $5k shipped insured.”
Authorities also cited Venmo records in which Robertson paid $3,600 on February 14 for what he labeled “Wedding Photos.” Investigators called B.S., saying he was not recently married and that PayPal, which owns Venmo, had suspended his account for gun references.
Robertson also allegedly purchased rifles and armor piercing ammunition from Gunbroker.com. All told, he allegedly had 34 guns waiting for him at a gun store. From the motion:
The FFL owner stated that Robertson currently has 34 firearms waiting for him at the FFL for pickup. Robertson had told the FFL owner that he cannot have the guns because of his current bond conditions. The FFL owner stated that Robertson had been in his store to handle several of these guns as recently as one week ago.
Robertson was not home at the time the FBI allegedly discovered pipe bomb and weapons, but when authorities served the search warrant on him later, Robertson told them he had not even picked up the guns yet, according to prosecutors. From the motion:
After serving the warrant, the agents told Robertson he was free to leave. Robertson responded that he wanted to make a statement of his own accord. The agents interrupted him, noting that he was represented by counsel in the Capitol riots case. Robertson then stated that if this search warrant related to him buying guns, he had bought them online and hadn’t even picked them up yet.
Robertson’s attorney Mark M. Rollins declined Law&Crime’s request for comment.
Robertson and Fracker pleaded not guilty to charges including disorderly conduct.
[Image of Robertson and Fracker via FBI]
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