The man wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt who was photographed at last week’s deadly pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol, was arrested in Virginia on Wednesday, officials said.
Robert Keith Packer, a 56-year-old Newport News resident, was booked into Western Tidewater Regional Jail by the U.S. Marshals Service at 8:53 a.m., according to inmate records.
The FBI’s Norfolk Joint Terrorism Task Force “arrested Robert Keith Packer of Newport News and Douglas Allen Sweet of Grimstead, Virginia on federal charges related to their role in the events at the U.S. Capitol” last week, FBI spokeswoman Christina Pullen said in a statement.
During an initial appearance, Packer was told he was charged with two federal offenses: Entering or remaining in a restricted building and violent entry or disorderly conduct while on capitol grounds.
He was not asked to enter a plea before a federal judge in Norfolk, who said Packer would be released without bail. He was ordered to stay out of Washington, D.C., for anything but his case.
His next court date was set for Tuesday afternoon. Packer did not speak other than acknowledging his name and agreeing to terms of his release.
A bearded white man wearing a long-sleeved “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt was among the most striking images snapped at last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, when mobs incited by outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the building in hopes of overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
Auschwitz was one the most notorious death camps run by Nazis during the Holocaust and World War II. Packer’s sweatshirt also includes the words “Work Brings Freedom,” in apparent homage to the German phrase “Arbeit macht frei” which was at emblazoned at the gates of Auschwitz and other death camps.
Sydney Cohen, a Hampton, Virginia resident, said Packer owns the vacant lot near her home. She said the man pictured in the “Camp Auschwitz” shirt and defendant’s mug shot listed in Western Tidewater Regional Jail records are the same person.
“I think seeing things on television is one thing, you can shake your head and be worried,” Cohen told NBC News on Wednesday. “But it’s a different feeling to have someone that you know personally to be involved (in the riots).”
Cohen said she shudders thinking about Packer possibly harboring anti-Semitic beliefs.
“He knows my name,” said Cohen, 53. “It’s a malice I didn’t know about and it’s scary.”
It wasn’t immediately clear if Packer had hired an attorney.
Polly DeFrank and Pete Williams contributed.