Fingerprint, misspellings point to bomb suspect

WASHINGTON • A lone fingerprint and a set of misspellings helped point FBI agents to a Florida man with a long criminal record now charged with mailing home-made bombs to prominent critics of President Donald Trump.

Cesar Sayoc, 56, a former pizza deliveryman, strip-club worker and virulently partisan supporter of the President, was arrested last Friday and charged with a string of crimes in connection with the home-made pipe bombs sent earlier in the week to former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and others.

Sayoc was formally charged with sending 13 such devices, and a law enforcement official said he is likely to be charged with sending a 14th device to Mr Tom Steyer, a major Democratic donor. That package was intercepted in California, officials said.

Even as Sayoc was taken into custody, investigators continued to chase potential bombs.

Three such devices were found last Friday - in Florida, New York and California - and officials warned there may be other 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 Representative Maxine Waters, and that DNA found on two of the devices was a possible match to a sample previously taken from Sayoc during an earlier arrest in Florida.

One law enforcement official said the fingerprint discovery was a major breakthrough. With that, the authorities began zeroing in on Sayoc last Thursday.

An 11-page FBI complaint identifies a Twitter account that law enforcement officials believe Sayoc used.

Some of the postings included the same misspellings in some of the addresses on the pipe-bomb packages, including the last name of one of the recipients, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a prominent Florida Democrat and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

On both the packages and the social media posts, her name was spelled "Shultz", according to the complaint.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 28, 2018, with the headline Fingerprint, misspellings point to bomb suspect. Subscribe