Daniel Warmus, of Alden, N.Y., talked of smoking marijuana inside the Capitol and refusing a police officer’s order to leave the building, and even proudly played a video from Jan. 6, a federal complaint states.
After an individual “overheard Warmus talking about his experience while at a dentist’s office,” the person, who authorities said wished to remain anonymous, alerted the FBI and passed along Warmus’s phone number and home address. That mundane trip to the dentist’s office led to an investigation that concluded this week with Warmus, 37, in police custody.
Warmus was arrested Tuesday in Buffalo for his role in the Capitol riot, the Justice Department announced, joining more than 410 people who’ve been arrested since Jan. 6. He’s been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building without lawful authority and knowingly and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business.
Warmus did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, and it is unclear whether he has an attorney.
His arrest is the latest in what has become a familiar trend in the past four months of the FBI getting information from just about anyone connected to boastful members of the pro-Trump mob — family members, friends, work colleagues and ex-girlfriends. On May 5, Robert Lee Petrosh was arrested after his mother shared the news of his presence at the Capitol with a friend of hers, which eventually resulted in the FBI’s involvement.
The Justice Department’s announcement came the same day that Albert Watkins, a lawyer for Jacob Anthony Chansley, often referred to as the “QAnon Shaman,” said his client and many of the other accused Capitol rioters were vulnerable to believing the false claims about election fraud from President Donald Trump. “These are people with brain damage,” Watkins told Talking Points Memo. “These aren’t bad people.”
Warmus is among more than 30 New Yorkers who have been arrested in connection with the riot, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. He purportedly owns Worm-A-Fix Automotive Repair in nearby Orchard Park, N.Y., business records show. A message left for the business was not immediately returned.
Warmus, who made the nearly 300-mile journey from western New York apparently in hopes of overturning the election results, was seen wearing a Trump 2020 hat and sweatshirt that read, “CNN is fake news,” and waving a large flag with an expletive directed toward the far-left movement antifa, according to a nine-page statement of facts. Security footage shows that Warmus entered the Capitol at 2:17 p.m. on Jan. 6, authorities say, just minutes after rioters overwhelmed police officers trying to prevent them from entering the building.
Security images shared by the Justice Department show Warmus entering the Capitol Rotunda and joining the rioters in taking photos and filming video of the scene. An officer is captured on video grabbing Warmus by his backpack before the 37-year-old “pulled away and retreated from the officer,” federal court documents say. Warmus was in the building for 16 minutes before he was seen exiting the building with other rioters at 2:33 p.m., according to authorities.
At the dentist’s office six days later, the tipster told authorities, Warmus talked about his trip to Washington, claiming to have smoked weed inside the Capitol. Investigators noted that security footage did not show him smoking in or around the building.
He also allegedly boasted at the dentist’s office about not heeding an officer’s command to exit the Capitol as the mob ran amok.
“Specifically, the tipster reported that a police officer told Warmus to leave the building, but Warmus refused to leave,” the complaint states.
The tipster also reported hearing — but not actually seeing — Warmus play a video he took when he was inside the Capitol.
It is not clear what the relationship is between Warmus and the tipster, authorities said. The FBI noted that the person did not respond to additional questions from authorities after sharing the tip about Warmus.
Through Verizon phone records obtained via a search warrant, investigators were able to see that Warmus’s cellphone was being used around the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the statement of facts.
He was to have made his first court appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in western New York, court records show.