DOJ holds briefing on arrest of pipe bomb packages suspect


NEW YORK (NBC) — A man in Florida was taken into custody Friday and will be charged in connection with the series of bombs found this week addressed to critics of President Donald Trump, law enforcement officials said shortly after the latest two devices were found.

NOTE: Live coverage of a Department of Justice news conference on the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, Jr. App users can tune in here.

Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56, who has been arrested before, is currently in custody, law enforcement officials said. DNA evidence played a role in the arrest, law enforcement told NBC News. Sayoc was previously charged in 2002 with making a bomb threat, but it’s not clear what the how the case was adjudicated. He was also arrested for theft in 1992 and 2014.

Sayoc filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and is registered as Republican, according to public records.

In Washington, Trump praised the FBI and Secret Service for the swift arrest of the suspect.

“It’s like a needle in a haystack,” Trump said. “And they have done an incredible, incredible job.”

Investigators in the Plantation, Florida, parking lot where Sayoc was arrested could be seen placing a tarp over a van with windows covered with dozens of pictures of Trump and decals, one of which appeared to be a version of a presidential seal.

In the latter theft case, Sayoc tried to walk out of a Walmart with a shopping cart filled with $239 worth of merchandise, according to an arrest affidavit.

The suspect also appeared to have money troubles. Records revealed he filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and had a property foreclosed on in 2009.

A registered Republican, Sayoc had previously lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan, and Brooklyn, New York, according to records.

Video (App Users): Trump remarks on packages, suspect arrested

A cousin of the suspect told NBC News she was stunned by Sayoc’s arrest.

“Oh my God,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, said. “He’s always been a very nice, thoughtful person. I don’t know anything about this. It’s shocking.”

The cousin said she hadn’t seen Sayoc for two decades but that he called her recently after her father died.

“It was mostly just small talk,” she said. “How’s your family, that kind of thing. I don’t really know that much about him. We have a very big family.”

The dramatic development came on the same day that two new suspicious packages were found, one addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and the other to James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.

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