Suspect's manager: His van was freaky scary

Debra Gurehjian, the general manager of a shop where mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc worked as a delivery driver, details what she saw when she was inside of his van.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 4:20 PM
Updated: Oct 28, 2018 4:25 PM

The nationwide manhunt for a serial bombmaker targeting prominent Democrats ended with the arrest of a South Florida man on Friday.

But that's just the beginning, FBI Director Christopher Wray said. Authorities don't yet know if they've found all of the pipe bombs they say suspect Cesar Sayoc allegedly sent.

"Today's arrest does not mean we are all out of the woods," Wray said Friday at a news conference. "There may be more packages in transit now."

So far, authorities have intercepted at least 14 packages, officials said. Among the targets were former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former US Attorney General Eric Holder, California Senator Kamala Harris, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Rep. Maxine Waters.

The most recent bomb connected to Sayoc was addressed to major Democratic donor Tom Steyer. It arrived Friday.

None of the bombs exploded, but Wray said "these are not hoax devices."

Investigators have not said what they think allegedly motivated Sayoc.

When asked why most of the bombs were sent to Democrats, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions replied, "I don't know. Other than what you might normally expect. He may have been -- appears to be partisan, but that will be determined by the facts as the case goes forward. I'm not able to comment on that."

Suspect has troubled past

FBI agents arrested Sayoc, 56, at an AutoZone parking lot in Plantation, Florida, about six miles west of Fort Lauderdale, on Friday morning. He was nearing his white van, its windows covered in eye-catching political images. Among them were pictures of Hillary Clinton, CNN's Van Jones, filmmaker Michael Moore and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, with red targets or crosshairs over their images.

After federal agents took Sayoc into custody, he told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn't have hurt anyone and that he didn't want to harm anyone, a law enforcement official told CNN. He later retained an attorney, so police questioning has ceased, the official added.

Sayoc, a resident of Aventura, Florida, had been kicked out by his parents and living in the Dodge van, according to a law enforcement official.

Like the windows of his van, his social media accounts were plastered with messages supporting the President, and provocative photos and memes attacking liberals. Facebook video showed him in a MAGA hat at a Trump rally in 2016.

Sayoc used the van to deliver food for New River Pizza & Fresh Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale, the restaurant general manager, Debra Gureghian, told CNN. He quit last January, saying he had gotten a job driving a hazardous waste truck in North Carolina, she said.

He called himself a white supremacist, she said, and disliked gay people, African Americans, Jews and anybody who isn't white, she said.

Sayoc had been arrested nine times before Friday, mostly in Florida.

Notable among them was a 2002 arrest after Sayoc threatened to bomb the Florida Power and Light Company, Miami police alleged, and said that "it would be worse than September 11th." Records show that Sayoc pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year of probation.

Sayoc's former lawyer, Ronald S. Lowy, now represents Sayoc's family. Lowy said Sayoc's mother, who underwent surgery Friday, "can't understand his behavior or views."

Sayoc was charged with five federal crimes: Interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former Presidents and other persons, threatening interstate communications and assaulting current and former federal officers. He faces up to 48 years in prison.

He will make a court appearance at 2 p.m. Monday in Miami before a federal magistrate, but the cases will be prosecuted in the Southern District of New York.

For now, Sayoc is being held at the Federal Detention Facility in Miami.

DNA and a partial print

The nationwide search lasted four days and involved multiple law enforcement agencies.

A key break came Thursday when investigators traced five packages to the Opa-locka, Florida processing and distribution center outside of Miami, according to a criminal complaint and multiple law enforcement officials. That narrowed the geographic range of the search.

The FBI forensics lab in Quantico, Virginia, inspected some of the mail bombs and detected DNA and a fingerprint found on the device intended for Waters, a California Democrat, Wray said.

Local law enforcement officers matched it late Thursday night to a sample of Sayoc's DNA that had been previously collected, Wray said.

After they had identified the suspect, investigators detected a ping identifying Sayoc's cell phone and traced it to the AutoZone parking lot.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 87°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 83°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 82°
Decatur
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Van Wert
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events