NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Robert Packer, the Hampton Roads man pictured wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt during the U.S. Capitol insurrection, was released on his own recognizance Wednesday, the same day he was arrested by the FBI.
Packer was in federal court Wednesday afternoon in Norfolk after being charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
He will not be required to pay bond, but will have to stay away from Washington D.C. and will have to appear in a virtual hearing in D.C. District Court on Jan. 19. He is hiring his own attorney.
Packer was spotted multiple times at the riot, including inside the building in a video from ITV, a British television channel.
According to the criminal complaint, a store owner in Newport News contacted law enforcement after seeing Packer’s photo being circulated in the media. The store owner recognized Packer because he was a frequent customer at a convenience store in the city. Surveillance cameras at the store captured Packer on Dec. 11, 2020, wearing the same “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt. Authorities used that information to help identify and locate Packer.
Early this week, 10 On Your Side’s Brett Hall spoke with neighbors of a property in Hampton that public records indicate is owned by Packer. They confirmed they recognized the man with the Auschwitz sweatshirt in the photo.
Auschwitz refers to a complex of more than 40 concentration and extermination camps run by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The bottom of Packer’s sweatshirt reads “Work Brings Freedom,” likely in reference to the German phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” which is emblazoned on the iron gates of Auschwitz.
Per three anonymous sources that spoke to CNN, Packer previously worked as a welder and pipe-fitter and was a “long-time extremist who has had run-ins with the law.”
WAVY News was unable to find Packer on Monday, but did speak with his mother, who lives in Hampton. She said she didn’t know where her son was at the time.
Packer is one of dozens of people arrested after the violent insurrection. The FBI is asking anyone with information about the insurrection to use their online tips form.
The FBI also said people may call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) to report tips and/or information related to the investigation.