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Man in ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt, photographed during US Capitol uprising, arrested in Virginia



The man wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, who was photographed during last week’s deadly pro-Trump uprising at the U.S. Capitol, was arrested in Virginia on Wednesday, officials said.

Robert Keith Packer, a 56-year-old resident of Newport News, was booked into the Western Tidewater Regional Jail by the U.S. Marshals Service at 6 p.m. 8:53 according to stored records.

Robert Keith Packer wears a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt during protests at the Capitol on January 6, 2021
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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 over 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: entry or stay in a restricted building and violent entry or disorder while in the metropolitan area.

He was not asked to file a plea before a federal judge in Norfolk who said Packer would be released without bail. He was ordered to stay out of Washington, DC for anything other than his cause.

His next trial was set for Tuesday afternoon. Packer spoke only of acknowledging his name and accepting the terms of his release.

A bearded white man wearing a long-sleeved “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt was among the most striking photos taken during last week’s uprising at the US Capitol as mobsters incited by outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the building in hopes of overthrowing the elected president Joe Biden’s election victory.

Auschwitz was one of 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 minted at the gate to Auschwitz and other death camps.

Sydney Cohen, a resident of Hampton, Virginia, said Packer owns the vacant lot near his home. She said the man pictured in the “Camp Auschwitz” sweater and defendant’s mug shot listed in Western Tidewater Regional Prison Records is the same person.

“I think watching things on TV is something you can shake your head and be worried about,” Cohen told NBC News on Wednesday. “But it’s a different feeling to have someone you know personally involved (in the riots).”

Cohen said she is shocked to think that Packer may be harboring anti-Semitic beliefs.

“He knows my name,” said Cohen, 53. “It’s an evil I did not know about, and it’s scary.”

It was not immediately clear whether Packer had hired a lawyer.

Polly DeFrank and Pete Williams the contribution.


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