Not all of the Capitol rioters were tough to track down.
It turns out that taking part in a violent insurrection in a government building surrounded by film crews and photojournalists isn’t the best way to hide your identity. Especially if you openly plan your attendance on Facebook and don’t wear a mask.
Some of the rioters, who were already relatively famous faces in the alt-right sphere, were arrested soon after photos of them circulated online.
The ‘QAnon Shaman’ Jake Angeli, who rioted in face paint, furs and horns was soon identified and charged. He then courted further publicity by demanding organic food while in custody and begging Trump for a presidential pardon.
Similarly, Adam Johnson was arrested after jovially waving to photographers while appearing to steal the Speaker’s lectern. It was later returned.
And Richard Barnett, who sat at Nancy Pelosi’s desk and even posed with a piece of her mail during the riot, was quickly tracked down and placed under house arrest.
But others took a little more work to find, which is why people have dedicated social media accounts to crowdsource tips about the identities of the lesser-known rioters.
Some of them essentially gave themselves up, though.
Like Robert Packer, who was caught not because of his recognisable face, but because of his recognisable hoodie. A witness was able to confirm his identity by producing a photo of him in her shop wearing the same deplorable “Camp Auschwitz” hoodie he rioted in. He faces multiple charges after being arrested by the FBI.
Douglas Jensen, similarly, couldn’t stop himself from bragging about wearing a QAnon t-shirt inside the Capitol. He reportedly confessed that he ensured he was one of the first people to breach the building because he wanted to get his t-shirt on video so Q would “get the credit”. According to his brother, he spoke to the anonymous online conspiracy theorist directly and believed he might be Trump himself.
Kevin Seefried, who carried a Confederate flag through the Capitol, and his son Hunter Seefried, were identified after the latter bragged to his co-workers about attending the riot. They then turned themselves in to the FBI.
Another rioter, Derrick Evans, who until attending the riot was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, was also his own undoing. Not only did he livestream entering the Capitol from his own Facebook account, but he shouted “we’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”.
Lastly, and perhaps most bizarrely, Kevin Lyons emailed the FBI “Hello Nice FBI Lady, Here are the links to the videos” along with YouTube clips of footage he shot at the riot. He reportedly handed himself in after realising that the FBI could see what he’d been posting on Instagram, even if hastily deleted.
More than 100 rioters have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riot so far.
The rioters’ gaffes, as well as the enormous digital trail they left across social media, no doubt helped law enforcement track them down.