Man in ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt, photographed at U.S. Capitol riot, arrested in Virginia – NBC News

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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.

Robert Keith Packer wears a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt during protests at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.EOG

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: Knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to an arrest warrant signed Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather in Washington, D.C.

A criminal complaint written by FBI Special Agent Paul Fisher included two pictures of Packer allegedly at the riot, wearing the “Camp Auschwitz” shirt.

The agent also included another image of Packer, appearing to wear the same shirt, at a Newport News store on Dec. 11

A stakeout of Packer’s home on Monday showed he was driving the same car he used in that Dec. 11 store visit, Fisher wrote.

Packer was not asked to enter a plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller, who said Packer would be released without bail. Packer 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.

Image: David K. LiDavid K. Li

David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Shamar Walters

Shamar Walters is a reporter for NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team based in New York City.

Polly DeFrank and Pete Williams

contributed.

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