Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, was taken into federal custody and was expected to appear in court. He will be extradited to Washington, D.C., the Justice Department said.
Barnett surrendered to FBI agents around 10 a.m. in the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Bentonville, Ark., and authorities executed a search warrant on his home, the FBI told Fox News. He was being held in the Washington County jail.
Barnett is charged with violent entry and theft of public property, among other offenses. He is accused of taking a letter from Pelosi’s office during the Capitol melee Wednesday.
Widely circulated photos appeared to show Barnett with his feet on Pelosi’s desk after a mob breached security and violently clashed with authorities in the Capitol while a joint session of Congress was trying to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“The shocking images of Mr. Barnett with his boots up on a desk in the speaker of the House’s office on Wednesday was repulsive,” said Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rose. “Those who are proven to have committed criminal acts during the storming of the Capitol will face justice.”
Regarding the letter, Barnett said he took it because he bled on it.
“I did not steal it. I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn’t (expletive) see so I figured I am in her office,” he said, according to a Capitol Police investigator.
Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., called Barnett’s actions an “embarrassment” to his district and called for his prosecution.
“I’m sickened to learn that the below actions were perpetrated by a constituent,” he tweeted. “It’s an embarrassment to the people of the Third District and does not reflect our values. He must be held accountable and face the fullest extent of the law. This isn’t the American or Arkansas way.”
Investigators identified Barnett as the person in the photos by comparing those with Department of Motor Vehicle records and images and law enforcement databases.
Jim Parsons, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in Vietnam as a Green Beret, told the Associated Press that he has been a guest speaker at a couple of “patriotic gatherings” that Barnett attended.
Barnett had an AR-15 rifle with him at the rally “to make sure things stay peaceful,” Parsons said.
One of the groups that Barnett belongs to believes “a face mask is a dress rehearsal for what’s to come. … It’ll end up with a chip in the forehead,” said Parsons.
Viral conspiracy theories on the far-right have promoted the false notion of microchip implants.
Authorities have charged 12 others in federal court in relation to the rioting that occurred as Congress was in the process of reviewing the Electoral College votes awarded to Biden.
The session was halted as a mob breached security in the building and resumed hours later.
Five people died in the chaos, including Brian Sicknick, 42, a Capitol police officer who succumbed to his injuries Thursday. He was injured during a physical altercation with rioters and collapsed after returning to his division office.