A former cop accused of participating in the Capitol riot was granted bail within weeks of his arrest, on condition that he did not own firearms.
But in the months that followed, he secretly purchased at least 34 guns and thousands of cartridges, including armor-penetrating cartridges, and attempted to disguise some of the payments as “wedding photos.” according to an FBI search warrant affidavit filed on Friday.
Now prosecutors ask a judge to revoke Thomas Robertson’s bail, and arrest him for violating his bail conditions for the second time in six months.
Robertson, who was a sergeant with the Rocky Mount Police Department, Virginia until he is fired at the end of January for his alleged role in the sack of the Capitol, pleaded not guilty of obstructing an official procedure, of complicity, of entering and staying in a building or a restricted lot, of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a building or a lot restricted, and disorderly conduct in the Capitol. His lawyer, Mark Rollins, did not immediately respond to the Daily Beast’s request for comment.
The day after the uprising, Robertson wrote on Facebook: âBeing nice, polite, writing letters and sending emails didn’t work. Peaceful protests did not work. Millions of FB posts, tweets, and other social media didn’t work. All that [sic] on the left it’s violence and you and your friends on the other side of the island [sic]’have pushed the Americans into this corner. The image of senators curled up on the floor with real fear on their faces is the most American thing I have seen in my life. Onceâ¦ for realâ¦ you REALLY realized who you work for.
Robertson also insisted he would do everything in his power to disrupt the inauguration of then-President-elect Joe Biden, posting a Facebook post on January 10 saying he was “going to fight. the motherfuckers who stole our country â, inâ DC on the 20th with certainty. ââ By bullet or by ballot, the restoration of the republic is coming, âhe wrote.
After his arrest on Jan. 13, Robertson – whose suspected partner in the insurgency had bragged about “pissing in Nancy P’s bathroom” – was released pending trial. Among the conditions set by Justice G. Michael Harvey: Robertson was prohibited from owning firearms or destructive devices while his case made its way through the system. All weapons he already owned were to be moved by Jan. 15, the affidavit states.
On January 19, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Robertson’s home in Ferrum, Virginia. There, they seized eight firearms in Robertson’s possession, including three Glock handguns. During a search of a hangar on the property, officers found “large quantities of ammunition, as well as what appeared to be equipment used to reload ammunition,” according to the affidavit.
The cops brought Robertson back to court that day, where Harvey gave him a second chance and again demanded that he “not own a firearm, destructive device or other dangerous weapon.” indicates the affidavit.
Ten days later, Robertson was indicted by a Washington, DC grand jury. Less than three weeks later, the FBI received “information indicating that Robertson was involved in the purchase, sale and possession of firearms and ammunition,” and obtained a warrant to search his email account. .
âOn February 13, 2021, the [redacted]The @ yahoo.com account received a “Generated from: ar15.com” email, the affidavit states.
âHey Tomâ¦ I sold you the M855A1,â he said, apparently referring to a powerful 5.56mm shell used by the US military. “[I]If you are interested, or know someone who is, I have more M85561 available as well as M80A1.
“I’m absolutely interested,” Robertson replied, according to the affidavit. “Price and quantity? “
After a few exchanges between Robertson and the vendor, whose name is redacted in court documents, Robertson replied that he would take 2,000 rounds of M855A1 ammunition for $ 3,600, and that he “can do venmo, zelle or of MO. Robertson explained in a follow-up email that he couldn’t use PayPal because the company had ‘suspended [his] account because someone felt the need to put gun information in an email, âthe affidavit states.
Robertson allegedly sent the money via Venmo, whose records were subpoenaed by the FBI. They showed that Robertson marked the payment of $ 3,600 as “Wedding Photos.” According to the affidavit, he then sent the seller a screenshot of the transaction, which read, âYou paid [redacted], “and a debit from Robertson’s account indicating” – $ 3,600 “.
When spring came, Robertson – whose terms of release were never changed to allow him to own guns while on bail – reportedly improved his game.
On April 12, Robertson paid $ 530 for âArmor Piercing Ap / Black Tip 192 Round Sealed Spam Can,â which was to be shipped from Texas to his home in Virginia, according to the affidavit. The next day, Robertson allegedly ordered an “Inland General Motors US Military M1 Carbine 30us Semi-Auto Rifle” for $ 995. A “CMP M1 Garand Unissued” for $ 1,500 followed, a “Bandolier of US Spec AYR Armor Piercing Ammunition” and more, for a total of 34 firearms, FBI says Robertson illegally obtained after been charged.
On June 29, the FBI raided Robertson’s home for the second time. This time they found “an arsenal of 34 firearms … a loaded M4 rifle, ammunition and a partially assembled homemade bomb,” the affidavit states. In the outhouse where Robertson is said to have stored his ammunition, officers found a box labeled with the words “Booby Trap.” Inside the box, officers found âa metal pipe with two end caps, with a fuse inserted in a hole that had been drilled in the device; epoxy had been used on the sides of the fuse to secure it. It did not contain explosive powder, but officers say they found a cache nearby. They also found a loaded M4 on his bed.
What they didn’t find at Robertson, however, were the newly purchased guns – or Robertson. When tracked down the same day, Robertson told officers he purchased the guns online, but they had been shipped to authorized dealers and had yet to pick them up.
The owner of Tactical Operations, a federal firearms licensing broker in Roanoke that acts as an intermediary for online firearms purchases, told officers in an interview that Robertson had 34 firearms that were waiting for him in the store. according to a petition filed Wednesday by prosecutors seeking to revoke Robertson’s bail.
He continues: âThe widespread and egregious violations of the accused Robertson of the terms of his release order, including numerous violations of federal firearms laws, strongly support the revocation of his provisional 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 accused, and warrants immediate action by the court through the issuance of a warrant. ‘stop.
Robertson is due to return to court on August 3.