A 32-year-old man is being held in connection with setting a fire inside the Justice Center in Portland, Oregon, during a May 29 riot that began as a Black Lives Matter protest. The suspect, authorities say, was identified after investigators spotted a very distinctive back tattoo: the man’s last name.
“Thomas Schinzing faces a federal charge of using fire to maliciously damage or destroy the city and county-owned building,” Fox News reports. “The facility houses the Portland Police Bureau headquarters and the Multnomah County Detention Center, which held 289 inmates at the time of the May 29 incident.”
Schinzing has his last name tattooed across his back shoulder blades and that tattoo was, apparently, clearly visible to authorities in a series of videos taken by surveillance cameras inside and outside of the building.
In one video, Schinzing appears to be marching with a protest. Once the group arrived at the Justice Center, authorities allege, Schinzing broke off with a smaller group and unlawfully entered the building. Federal investigators say Schinzing is next seen on tape allegedly setting several a fire inside a workspace.
ARRESTED: Edward Schinzing faces 20 years in prison & a mandatory minimum of 5 years for federal arson inside Portland Justice Center. Schinzing was identified because he has his last name tattooed across his upper back. https://t.co/IU5Pd7xVYU pic.twitter.com/d8MnCRHMk3
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 29, 2020
“Three civilian Multnomah County employees were still inside the records office and ‘fled for safety as the windows were broken,'” Fox News notes. “Around 30 people entered the building and began vandalizing the inside. They spray-painted portions of the office, damaged computer equipment, furniture, and other windows and started a fire.”
“Photos of a shirtless Schinzing appeared to capture him marching with protesters and setting fire to the pieces of paper in separate cubicles once inside the building,” the outlet continued.
Schinzing, who made his first appearance in court earlier this week, faces up to 20 years in prison. He may also be facing state charges, as he was on probation for domestic violence when he was arrested in connection with the Justice Center arson.
The Justice Center arson was the first incident in what has now become an eight-week-long affair. By day, largely peaceful protests occupy segments of Portland’s downtown, but by night, rioters regularly attack a number of buildings associated with both the state and federal justice systems, most notably a federal courthouse.
The attacks prompted President Donald Trump to assign a force of around 100 federal agents from an elite Customs and Border Patrol unit to protect the courthouse. Those troops are now due to withdraw, but only after Oregon state authorities demonstrate that the Oregon State Police is capable of preventing further damage to the courthouse.
As of earlier this week, federal agents had made around 60 arrests, including Schinzing, mostly for throwing bricks, fireworks, and other incendiary devices at federal officers.
Schinzing is not the only alleged rioter to be nabbed by federal officials after an investigation turned up odd evidence. The Post Millennial claims that a “suspected Antifa militant” who allegedly lobbed an explosive device at the courthouse’s exterior earlier this week, was identified after authorities connected a distinctive vest he was wearing in photos to an online product review authored by a woman claiming to be his grandmother.
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