Bomber’s spelling gave him away in FBI manhunt
A lone fingerprint and a set of misspellings helped point FBI agents to a Florida man with a long criminal record who has been charged with mailing homemade bombs to prominent critics of US President Donald Trump – a politically charged case that has roiled the runup to next month’s congressional elections. Cesar Sayoc, 56, a former pizza delivery man, strip club worker and virulently partisan supporter of the president, was arrested yesterday and charged with a string of crimes in connection with the homemade pipe bombs sent this week to former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and others. He was formally charged with sending 13 such devices, and a law enforcement official said he was likely to be charged with sending a 14th device to Tom Steyer, a major Democratic donor. That package was intercepted in California. The manhunt began on Tuesday, when a pipe bomb was found inside a package delivered to billionaire activist George Soros, and ended less than 96 hours later with Sayoc’s arrest outside an auto supply store in Plantation, Florida. Sayoc, who lives in nearby Aventura, was arrested near his vehicle: a white van festooned with political declarations echoing Trump rhetoric. Trump told reporters later that he did not think he bore blame for the alleged crimes. Investigators across the country continue to chase potential bombs. Three such devices were discovered yesterday – in Florida, New York and California – and officials warned there may be other, undiscovered packages in the mail system or a mailbox somewhere in the US. FBI Director Christopher Wray said investigators were able to pinpoint Sayoc after finding a fingerprint on an envelope containing a bomb sent to California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and that DNA found on two of the devices was a possible match to a sample taken from Sayoc during an earlier arrest in Florida. Authorities began zeroing in on Sayoc on Friday, gathering cellphone records and conducting real-time surveillance of his location and activities, the official said. Sayoc’s previous run-ins with law enforcement date back at least to an arrest for larceny when he was 29, according to state records.
An NYPD bomb unit member holds a case containing a suspicious package discovered at a post office in midtown Manhattan yesterday. Cesar Sayoc, inset, a Florida man with a long criminal history, has been arrested and charged over a nationwide mail bomb scare.