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Mail bomb suspect displayed rage —
and love for Trump — on social media pages
Hunter Walker 10/16/2018 Social media pages that appear linked to Cesar Altieri Sayoc displayed evidence of emotional turmoil and political anger before he was arrested on Friday and identified as the suspect behind 12 mail bombs sent to leading Democrats, prominent activists and members of the media.
There are multiple Facebook accounts, a LinkedIn account and a Twitter page that appear to belong to Sayoc. They show his name and display many photos that strongly resemble the man who was taken into custody by the FBI on Friday. The postings appear to be from an ardent supporter of President Trump, one who despised many Democrats.
A booking photo of Cesar Sayoc, 56. (Photo: Broward County Sheriff’s Office)The person identifying himself as Sayoc described himself as an entrepreneur, or, as he put it on LinkedIn, a “Promoter, booking agent Live entertainment, owner, choreographer.” In multiple pictures on Facebook, the person identifying as Sayoc can be seen wearing a pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” hat and attending Trump campaign rallies. In the months leading to Trump’s election in 2016, the Facebook pages regularly promoted articles containing bizarre conspiracy theories about Democrats — including allegations that Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, sold weapons to the jihadist group ISIS, claims that Democrats were “buy[quote]ing votes” and rumors of an imminent Muslim terrorist attack.
Based on the Facebook posts, the person identifying as Sayoc was fixated on the idea that America would be at risk of terror under Clinton.
“Wake up America FBI director warns an attack like never seen before here in America will happen. We can’t afford risk American lives with Hilary Clinton. They will infiltrate refugees guaranteed,” the person wrote.
An Oct. 13, 2016, post from the Facebook account identified as belonging to “Cesar Altieri.” (Photo: Facebook)Clinton was one of the 12 people targeted by the mailings. On Twitter, the account under the handle @hardrock2016 posted about several of the other mail bomb targets, including the liberal donor George Soros, who has long been a focus of right-wing conspiracy theories. @hardrock2016 also made multiple posts attacking gun control activists and Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum as being “BACKED BY GEORGE SOROS.” One image retweeted by the account on Monday declared, “THE WORLD IS WAKING UP TO THE HORRORS OF GEORGE SOROS.” The person identified as Sayoc also posted images encouraging people to “VOTE REPUBLICAN” in the November midterm elections and expressing hope for a “RED WAVE.”
Postings that seem to have come from Sayoc don’t just express admiration for Trump’s politics. In an October 2016 Facebook post, Sayoc credits Trump’s business strategies with helping him open a sports bar.
“Thank you President Trump for all advice strategies, that worked to close on our soon to be … Knockers Sports Grill. We followed exactly the formate you laid out for us,” Sayoc wrote.
Postings on the pages that appear to belong to Sayoc also attacked the media. In recent months, the postings on those pages became less coherent and more ominous. On July 14, one of the Twitter accounts posted a link to a video that purportedly showed a video of a python swallowing a live human.
“This one for you MSNBC Andrea Mitchell. A promise reply to your threats. We will answer is coming see you soon,” Sayoc wrote.
After Sayoc’s arrest on Friday, Rochelle Ritchie, a former congressional press secretary and political commentator, posted screengrabs of messages she received from the @hardrock2016 account identified as belonging to Sayoc on Oct. 11. Ritchie said the account sent her “threats” after she made an appearance on Fox News. She also showed a screengrab of an email indicating that she reported the matter to Twitter and criticized the company for sending back “a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious.”
The message the account tweeted at Ritchie urged her to “hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home.”
“We will see you 4 sure,” the message said.
Images posted on the “Cesar Altieri” @hardrock2016 Twitter account on Oct. 19, 2018. (Photo: Twitter)Last Friday, Sayoc wrote multiple tweets that seemed to be in response to a video from the celebrity gossip site TMZ, where the rapper TI criticized Trump.
“You biggest piece crap media TMZ , that were complete silent Obama separating kids. Shut your hole TMZ before u end like media slime Saudi Arabia. No one deserves it better than fake fraud Washington Amazin owned post. We Unconquered Seminole Tribe agree,” Sayoc wrote.
“Unconquered Seminole Tribe” is a phrase that appeared multiple times in the Twitter postings. In several tweets, the person who identified as Sayoc posted pictures showing a flag for the “Unconquered Seminole Tribe for Florida” and expressing support for a pair of Republicans in the state, Senate candidate Rick Scott and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis.
Under his nonsensical screed against TMZ and the Washington Post, Sayoc posted pictures of three tarot cards featuring images of death.
Bomb suspect described as 'loner'
with long arrest record
MICHAEL BIESECKER and STEPHEN BRAUN,Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cesar Sayoc is an amateur body builder and former male stripper, a loner with a long arrest record who showed little interest in politics until Donald Trump came along.
On Friday, he was identified by authorities as the Florida man who put pipe bombs in small manila envelopes, affixed six stamps and sent them to some of Trump's most prominent critics.
Records show Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, has a history of financial problems and extensive record of past arrests, including a stint served on probation for making a bomb threat. He was born in New York City and attended college in North Carolina before moving to the Miami suburbs in the late 1980s.
Florida voter records show he first registered in March 2016 as a Republican and cast a ballot in that November's heated presidential election. Sayoc's social media accounts are peppered with memes supporting Trump, denigrating Democrats, and promoting conspiracy theories about George Soros, the billionaire political donor who was the first targeted this week by a package bomb.
Sayoc has also tweeted and posted on Facebook videos that appear to show him at Trump rallies.
At the auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, where Sayoc was taken swarmed by officers and arrested on Friday, authorities towed away a white van covered with stickers supporting Trump and criticizing media outlets that included CNN, the news channel also targeted by a mail bomb this week.
"I know the guy is a lunatic," said Lenny Altieri, Sayoc's cousin, told The Associated Press on Friday. "He has been a loner." He confirmed that Sayoc had been a stripper.
Court records in Florida show that Sayoc was arrested in 2002 and served a year of probation for a felony charge of threatening to throw or place a bomb. Court records available online did not immediately provide further details about the case, but his lawyer in the case told The Associated Press the case involved a heated conversation with a Florida utility representative.
Ronald Lowy, a Miami attorney, said Sayoc became frustrated about a lack of service and told a Florida Power and Light employee "something to the effect that you're not taking care of my problem and I bet you would if I threw a bomb at you." Lowy said Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with any bomb-making expertise.
The lawyer went on to describe Sayoc as "a confused man who had trouble controlling his emotions."
Florida records show Sayoc was also convicted in 2014 for grand theft and misdemeanor theft of less than $300, and in 2013 for battery. In 2004, he faced several felony charges for unlawful possession of a synthetic anabolic steroid often used to help build muscles. He also had several arrests for theft in the 1990s and faced a felony charge for obtaining fraudulent refunds and a misdemeanor count of tampering with physical evidence.
Lowy said he recalled that Sayoc also had a run-in with authorities over possession of steroids and another case in Broward County where he was charged with possessing a fake driver's license after altering his birthdate to make him appear younger.
"His mind doesn't seem to operate like most peoples'," Lowy said. "It shows in his anger, his emotion and his behavior."
Lowy said Sayoc displayed no political leanings at the time except for plastering a vehicle he owned with Native American signs. Lowy said Sayoc told him his father was Native American.
More recently, Sayoc described himself on social media as being affiliated with the Seminole Warriors boxing club.
However, his cousin said Sayoc's mother was Italian and his biological father was Filipino, and his parents separated when he was a young boy. Altieri said the only connection to Native Americans was that Sayoc a decade and a half ago had dated a woman in Minnesota who was a member of a tribe.
"That might be the only connection I can think of," Altieri said.
Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, said there is no evidence to show that Sayoc worked for the tribe or was a tribal member.
After his parents separated, Sayoc was "kind of rejected" by his family, Altieri said.
"When you get no love as a young kid, you get kind of out of whack," he said.
Sayoc's name is listed on business records tied to dry cleaning and catering businesses. Records also sugg[quote]est he also had recent financial problems, including losing his home in foreclosure in 2009 and filling for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2012.
In court records filed as part of the bankruptcy case, Sayoc was described as having $4,175 in personal property and more than $21,000 in debts. His monthly income at the time was $1,070.
"Debtor lives with mother, owns no furniture," Sayoc's lawyer indicated in a property list. He owned a 2001 Chevy Tahoe with 285,000 miles on the odometer. Most of his debt was from unpaid credit cards opened up in South Florida and banks across the U.S.
Court files show Sayoc completed a financial management course and was discharged from his debts in September 2012. Sayoc's mother, Madeline, also filed for bankruptcy at the same time and was discharged in January 2017. She was not immediately available to respond to phone messages left with her by the AP.
Sayoc's bankruptcy attorney, Christian Olson, declined to comment.
Christie Cauble, interim director of communications at Brevard College in North Carolina, said Sayoc enrolled at the school in 1980 and attended through three semesters. At the time, Brevard was a two-year school, and Cauble said Sayoc didn't graduate.
He then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, enrolling for the 1983-84 academic year. Buffie Stephens, director of media relations for the school, said Sayoc didn't declare a major. He played a few games as a walk-on player for the university's men's soccer team.
A Twitter account that appears to belong to Sayoc, @hardrock2016, includes memes denouncing Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, including a photo of Soros made to look like he's holding a puppet that resembles Gillum.
Other posts called Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg "fake phony." He posted memes repeatedly attacking Hogg in July. He also called Gov. Rick Scott "greatest Governor Ever" in a posting that shows the Republican governor alongside Trump.
In June, he praised Trump in a birthday message saying: "Happy Birthday President Donald J. Trump the greatest result President ever."
Sayoc was swarmed by dozens of heavily armed law enforcement officers on Friday morning in the parking lot of an AutoZone store.
Thomas Fiori, a former federal law enforcement officer who operates a property management office directly across the street from the store, said he heard a small explosion, probably a device police use to distract subjects called a flash bang. Officers carrying semi-automatic rifles and wearing bulletproof vests ordered Sayoc to the ground.
Fiori, who described Sayoc as having short hair on the sides and a ponytail in the back, said the accused mass bomber didn't resist.
"He had that look of, 'I'm done, I surrender,' Fiori said.
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