'Distinctive navy-blue shoes' helped the FBI track down a Jan. 6 Capitol riot suspect

·1 min read
Blue shoes
Blue shoes iStock

A recent "grassroots coordinator" for the conservative group FreedomWorks was arrested last Friday for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, following a tip to the FBI, a survey of public social media posts, and "an airport stakeout," Politico reported Thursday. The suspect, Brandon Prenzlin, 26, was charged with four federal misdemeanor charges, including disorderly conduct and entering the Capitol without permission. He was released on his own recognizance after a court hearing Monday.

The FBI was tipped off to Prenzlin's brief presence in the Capitol on or near July 11, according to a affidavit from FBI Special Agent Clarke Burns. Burns verified that Prenzlin was the person captured on camera inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 by looking at this driver's license and searching his social media posts and those of other FreedomWorks employees.

In closed-circuit footage from inside the Capitol, Burns writes, "Prenzlin is seen wearing distinctive navy-blue shoes with dark tan thick gum soles." He was wearing those same shoes in a Twitter post from a FreedomWorks colleague and also when he arrived at a Washington, D.C., airport on July 20, according to a photo the FBI took during "physical surveillance" of Prenzlin.

FreedomWorks highlighted former President Donald Trump's false election fraud claims before the Jan. 6 riot, Politico reports, but afterward it issued a statement denouncing the violence as having undercut "the very foundations of what our founding fathers built." FreedomWorks spokesman Peter Vicenzi said Thursday that "Prenzlin entered the Capitol alone" and "FreedomWorks was in no way involved in the event." You can see the telltale blue shoes in Burns' affidavit.

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