Western Tidewater Regional Prison / AP
One of the most persistent images of the attack on the American Capitol was one of a long-haired, bearded man wearing a black sweatshirt with a graphic over the skull and bones and the words “Camp Auschwitz” in large font.
The FBI identified him in a statement released ahead of a court hearing Wednesday by Robert Packer, 56, of Newport News, Va.
Packer was arrested at his residence, according to the statement, and appeared Wednesday in a virtual hearing for U.S. Judge Douglas Miller in Norfolk. Packer faces two criminal cases: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; and violent entry and disorder on Capitol grounds.
According to the statement, Packer was first identified by “media” and that the FBI matched photographs taken at the Capitol with Packer’s driver’s license. The announcement included images of Packer both outside and inside the Capitol that had surfaced on social media and on a UK television network.
Camp Auschwitz refers to the complex of German labor and extermination camps in occupied Poland during World War II, where more than 1 million people were murdered, most of them Jews. Packer’s sweatshirt also contained the words “work brings freedom,” an inaccurate translation of the German slogan of the camp’s gateway, “arbeit macht frei.”
Packer was released on his own, according to Norfolk NBC-affiliated WAVY. He was not required to file a bond, but was ordered to stay away from Washington, DC. He has a virtual court appearance scheduled for Jan. 19 in the U.S. District Court for DC
Acting U.S. Attorney for Washington Michael Sherwin says hundreds of people are expected to be charged in connection with the Capitol attack.
The announcement included a Dec. 11 security camera photo of Packer wearing the same sweatshirt at a store near Newport News. An unidentified witness had contacted the FBI to say that Packer was a regular customer of the store. The witness did not know Packer’s name.