By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The man suspected of sending at least a dozen parcel bombs to high-profile critics of U.S. President Donald Trump is a registered Republican with a lengthy criminal past and a history of posting inflammatory broadsides on social media against Trump’s political enemies.
Florida resident Cesar Sayoc, 56, has been arrested numerous times over the years for domestic violence, theft and other charges, according to public records. In one case, court records showed he was accused of threatening to use a bomb, though details were not immediately available.
Sayoc was taken into custody on Friday morning outside an auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, federal authorities said. He is suspected of sending parcel bombs to former President Barack Obama, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and various other public figures who have been frequent targets of Trump’s derision.
His white van, which was seized by authorities, had numerous signs in the windows showing Trump, including a drawing depicting the president standing on top of a tank emblazoned with “Trump” on the sides.
The van also had a “CNN SUCKS” sign and a photo of Clinton with a bullseye superimposed on her face. CNN received one of the suspicious packages at its New York office.
Sayoc is registered as a Republican in Florida, according to public records.
His social media accounts are littered with anti-Democrat sentiments and far-right memes.
Two Twitter accounts that appear to belong to Sayoc under pseudonyms are largely made up of retweeted posts condemning Democratic politicians and public figures, including Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor.
Among his frequent targets was George Soros, the liberal philanthropist who was the intended recipient of the first suspicious package discovered on Monday. One of the Twitter accounts attacked Soros as recently as Wednesday, amid a nationwide manhunt for the bombs suspect.
One Twitter account said he was an employee of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns the casino, said it could find no evidence that Sayoc worked there, but added it could not verify whether he was an employee of a vendor company.
Sayoc appears to have a Facebook profile under the name Cesar Altieri Randazzo, featuring videos and photos of him attending multiple rallies for Trump, including at least one rally in Florida.
The account has “liked” more than 100 conservative pages, including several anti-Clinton and pro-Trump groups. Several posts contained anti-Muslim and anti-Obama statements.
He is a promoter, booking agent and “live entertainment owner,” according to his LinkedIn profile, which used his middle name, Altieri, and listed him as the owner of International Gold Productions.
In 2001, the male stripper company Chippendales successfully sued International Gold Productions for using the company’s name without permission, according to the Chippendales website.
The profile also described him as a veterinary student at High Point University in North Carolina. The school’s registrar’s office confirmed that Sayoc had applied, but said he was not currently enrolled.
He completed three semesters at Brevard College in North Carolina, according to Christie Cauble, a school spokeswoman. At the time, the school only offered a two-year general education associate’s degree. She said she did not know why he departed the school early.
He filed for bankruptcy in Miami in 2012, according to court records. At the time, Sayoc said he lived with his mother in Aventura, Florida, and listed a $1,150 tax refund and a 2001 Chevy Tahoe vehicle as his only assets.
In court documents, Sayoc said he had worked for a year as a store manager for a small company called Hassanco Investments Inc in Hollywood, Florida, earning less than $12,000 a year. The owner of the firm said by phone it was a real estate investment company, and that he did not directly know Sayoc.
Court records in Florida listed Sayoc’s birthplace as Brooklyn, New York.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault and Gina Cherelus in New York and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot)