Bomber’s spell­ing gave him away in FBI man­hunt

Sunday Star-Times - - NEWS -

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.

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