HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia man photographed wearing a sweatshirt with the words “Camp Auschwitz” during the U.S. Capitol insurrection last Wednesday has been arrested.
Robert Keith Packer, 56, was arrested Wednesday morning by federal authorities and turned over to U.S. Marshals.
Unsealed federal charging documents show Packer is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
He was booked at Western Tidewater Regional Jail and is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in Norfolk, Virginia.
Neighbors of a property in Hampton, Virginia, that public records indicate is owned by Packer confirmed they recognized the man with the Auschwitz sweatshirt in the photo.
Auschwitz refers to a complex of more than 40 concentration and extermination camps run by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The bottom of Packer’s sweatshirt reads “Work Brings Freedom,” likely in reference to the German phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” which is emblazoned on the iron gates of Auschwitz.
Sydney Cohen, a neighbor of the property in Hampton, said Packer owns the vacant lot near the Grandview nature preserve and is the same man seen in the photograph.
Cohen said Packer never lived in the Hampton neighborhood and always kept to himself when he would come to maintain the property. She said they have spoken but politics never came up.
“When you wear a T-shirt that glorifies the atrocities during WWII against the Jewish people and other people. It really hurts your heart,” Cohen said. She said she does not plan to speak to him again.
Per three anonymous sources that spoke to CNN, Packer previously worked as a welder and pipe-fitter and was a “long-time extremist who has had run-ins with the law.”
When asked for comment on Monday, Packer’s mother, who lives in Hampton, said she didn’t know where her son was at the time.
Last Wednesday, the FBI said it was seeking information “that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, D.C.”
Packer’s image was not one of those released by the FBI, and the agency declined to comment on him.
The agency is urging people who saw unlawful activity during the violent protests to submit information to them. The FBI has provided an online tips form.
People may also call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) to report tips and/or information related to the investigation.
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