Federal investigators used social media to find a protester accused of setting two police vehicles on fire in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last month.
The investigation into 33-year-old Lore Elisabeth Blumenthal began on Instagram, where she was seen “wielding a flaming piece of a barricade at a Philadelphia police cruiser on May 30,” according to CBS Philly.
A criminal complaint filed this week reportedly said the suspect had a peace sign tattooed on her arm and was wearing a blue t-shirt with the words “Keep the Immigrants, Deport the Racists” printed on it.
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Court documents show that agents found that same shirt on Etsy, an online crafting marketplace and noticed a five-star rating for the shirt by a purchaser in Philadelphia. That Etsy username linked agents to another site, Poshmark, a clothing exchange platform.
There, the name Lore Elisabeth was located and a search of that name in Philadelphia took agents to LinkedIn and a local massage business. On that business’s website, agents found videos that showed an employee with what they describe as the same peace tattoo.
Once agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) located Blumenthal, she was arrested and charged with arson and currently remains in federal custody, according to WSB-TV.
In a press release Wednesday, United States Attorney William M. McSwain said although the office supported the people’s First Amendment right to assemble peaceably and petition their government, torching a police vehicle had nothing to do with either.
“It is a violent and despicable act that will be prosecuted in this District to the fullest extent of the law. Anybody who engaged in such acts can stand by to put your hands behind your back and head to federal prison. We are coming for you,” he stated.
If Blumenthal is convicted, she faces a maximum possible sentence of 80 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000, the release concluded.