Everything we know about suspected mail bomber Cesar Sayoc

“You wouldn’t get much of a smile out of him. Definitely not the kind of guy who you were going to tell a knock-knock joke to and get a laugh out of.”
October 26, 2018, 4:44pm
Everything we know about suspected mail bomber Cesar Sayoc

Early Friday morning, authorities arrested a 56-year-old Florida MAGA supporter named Cesar Sayoc in connection with a spate of mail bombs that targeted prominent Trump critics and CNN this week.

Sayoc, a registered Republican who was born in New York, has a long criminal history dating back to 1991, with charges ranging from felony theft to drug offenses to fraud. Authorities say they were able to identify him by a fingerprint he left on the bomb he mailed to Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, one of 13 discovered so far.

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Read more: Authorities arrest Cesar Sayoc in connection with mail bombs

HE HAD A LONG CRIMINAL RECORD

Court documents trace a life marked by instability and crime. He was first arrested in 1991 on a felony theft charge in Broward County, Florida, followed by a 1994 arrest on charges of domestic violence.

In 2002, public records show, Sayoc was arrested on charges of making bomb threats.

Two years later, he was again arrested on a number of felony charges, including tampering with physical evidence, possession of an unlawfully issued driver's license, and possession with intent to sell at least three different types of anabolic steroids. The charges were later dismissed.

In 2013, Sayoc was arrested on theft and battery charges, and in 2015, he was arrested again for stealing $58 worth of items from a WalMart store.

According to court documents, Sayoc's home was foreclosed on in 2009, and he filed for bankruptcy in 2012, citing $21,109 in debts with only $4,175 in assets. A note on the petition says that Sayoc was living with his mother and owned no furniture at the time.

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An attorney who represented him in the bankruptcy case declined to comment to VICE News.

HE WORKED PRIMARILY IN STRIP CLUBS

Sayoc apparently worked primarily in entertainment, saying in one deposition that he had worked for a club called String Fellas while living in New York, followed by a series of Florida strip clubs. In 2014, a man named Tony Valentine filed a letter with the Broward County criminal court asserting that he was currently employing Sayoc as a tour booker and road manager. Calling him a "vital part of managing and overseeing my road productions and revenue from club venues," Valentine asked that Sayoc's probation accommodate his employment.

Valentine, whose company, Tony Valentine Productions, puts on what appears to be a knockoff Chippendales show, denied writing the letter when reached at the phone number listed in the court document.

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"I don't know this motherfucker. Don't call me no more," Valentine said. "Peace."

Sayoc most recently worked as a doorman and DJ at the Ultra Gentleman's Club in West Palm Beach, where a manager told WPTV he was in the DJ booth Thursday night, just hours before his Friday morning arrest.

At one point, Sayoc also worked at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, Florida, which often puts on events, including MMA matches. Mitchell Chamale, an MMA fighter, told VICE News he remembers coming across Sayoc a few times back in 2013, when the Hard Rock hosted some of his events. Chamale says Sayoc was working security or event promotion and made an impression.

“He was a very stoic, serious guy,” said Chamale. “You wouldn’t get much of a smile out of him. Definitely not the kind of guy who you were going to tell a knock-knock joke to and get a laugh out of.”

Chamale said that Sayoc was an MMA fan and kept a promotion sticker for CombatNight, an MMA event that Chamale runs, on the side of his white van.

Sayoc also reportedly worked as a pizza deliveryman for Papa John's, tweeting about his love for Papa John's pizzas. Papa John's did not immediately respond to VICE News' request for comment.

On his LinkedIn page, Sayoc described himself as a “promoter, booking agent for live entertainment, owner and choreographer.” He also claims that his grandfather helped liberate the Philippines from a communist regime and taught martial arts, which were used to help defeat the Communist Party.

HE WAS A FERVENT TRUMP SUPPORTER

A Twitter account registered with Sayoc's first and middle names frequently tweeted memes about some of the individuals he targeted in his weeklong mail bombing campaign, with a particular focus on billionaire liberal donor George Soros. The account indicates he was still posting this week while the bomb scare was at its peak, with a series of tweets about Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor. The account also featured photographs of Sayoc at Trump rallies, along with hundreds of racist memes and conspiracy theories about Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, and Elizabeth Warren.

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Sayoc appeared to be a staunch Trump supporter, and registered to vote for the first time as a Republican in the 2016 election. He's posted a series of photographs of himself wearing a red Donald Trump "MAGA" hat, standing in front of the U.S. Capitol and at Trump rallies. Sayoc also posted a video of himself at a Trump rally in 2016 on a Facebook account. Authorities have since impounded his white van, which was covered in Trump stickers, images of Democrats with targets on their faces, and a "CNN Sucks" sign.

In one tweet sent in response to an American Magazine story denouncing Kavanaugh, Sayoc responded with an apparent threat. "We see into future for American Magazine very easy to enter your building. Its coming your Nxt," he wrote.

Rochelle Ritchie, a Democratic strategist and frequent guest on cable news shows, tweeted Friday that she had reported unambiguous violent threats made against her from one of Sayoc's Twitter accounts. Twitter said the tweets, in which Sayoc implied that he would murder her, did not violate its community standards.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.