Cesar Altieri Sayoc has been arrested in connection with the suspicious packages that were sent across the country to high-profile Democratic politicians and liberal personalities, as well as to CNN’s headquarters in New York City. Sayoc was first named as the suspect by NY1’s Myles Miller. The 56 year old Sayoc is is a resident of Aventura, Florida and is originally from the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. He has a lengthy criminal record and a history of making violent threats against people he disagreed with. Sayoc was arrested in Plantation, Florida on October 26.
According to NBC, Sayoc told federal investigators that he didn’t do it. CNN reported that Sayoc told investigators that the bombs wouldn’t have hurt anybody. He is now refusing to cooperate with the investigation. A lawyer representing Sayoc’s family called him “mentally ill and insecure” and said that Sayoc’s mother had just learned about her son’s arrest from a hospital, where she is recovering from surgery. On the night before his arrest, Sayoc was working at Ultra Gentlemen’s Club in West Palm Beach, where he was the door host and DJ.
On the afternoon of October 26, FBI director Christopher Wray told reporters that the pipe bombs in the suspicious packages were “not hoax devices.” He also said that Sayoc’s fingerprint had been found on a device that was put in a package and addressed to Maxine Waters. Wray also said that DNA found on two of the devices matched DNA samples that were collected from Sayoc during an earlier arrest. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says that Sayoc faces five felony charges. If convicted, he could spend 58 years in prison. You can read the full complaint against Sayoc here.
The long list of people who were sent suspicious packages includes George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, Robert De Niro, and John Brennan (in that case, the package was addressed to him, care of CNN’s Manhattan headquarters.) The packages all contained a picture of the addressee marked with a red “X,” according to the criminal complaint. According to the FBI, all of the suspicious items were sent in manila envelopes with bubble wrap interior. The packages had computer-printed address labels and each envelope had six Forever stamps. All of the packages had a return address of “DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ” [sic] in Florida. Nobody was hurt by the explosives, which were all intercepted and successfully disabled by law enforcement officials.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sayoc’s Cousin Described Him as a ‘Lost Soul’ & Said the One-Time Stripper’s Brain Might Have Been ‘Melted’ by Too Many Steroids
Sayoc used to dream of becoming a professional wrestler. Instead, he found work as a professional stripper. Back in the 1990s, according to event promoter Tony Valentine, Sayoc was “running around the country” taking jobs as a stripper. Valentine hired him for some stripping jobs in Ohio; Sayoc also worked in Minnesota, the Carolinas, and Florida. “He really couldn’t find his niche in life, and I guess he found it now,” Valentine told the Washington Examiner. “Back in the ’90s, he was running around from Minnesota to the Carolinas to Florida. He was like a gypsy.” Sayoc later described himself on his LinkedIn page as the “choreographer” of a male stripping show as well as of burlesque shows in the Miami-area. He also called himself a former cage fighter.
Valentine, the event promoter who hired Sayoc as a stripper, told the Examiner that he couldn’t remember Sayoc ever abusing drugs. He also said he couldn’t remember Sayoc ever talking about politics. But Sayoc was arrested for steroid possession back in 2004. His cousin also told NBC News that Sayoc had taken “too many steroids” in his day. The cousin, who asked not to be identified, said that the steroids might have affected Sayoc’s brain. “He’s always been a little bit of a loose cannon. He’s always been a lost soul. Too many steroids in his day. That stuff will melt your brain,” the cousin said.
Sayoc spent a few months working as a delivery truck driver for a Fort Lauderdale pizza restaurant last year. He quit in January 2018. Debra Gureghian, the general manager of New River Pizza and Fresh Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale, told the Washington Post that Sayoc was “crazed” and that his van was covered in disturbing images.
“He was crazed, that’s the best word for him. There was something really off with him,” Gureghian told the Post. She said, “He was very angry and angry at the world, at blacks, Jews, gays. He always talked about ‘if I had complete autonomy none of these gays or these blacks would survive.’ He never said he would kill them or murder them or bomb them he just said ‘if I had complete autonomy the gays, the black and Jews would not survive.’ He was very, very strange.”
2. Sayoc Is a Registered Republican; He Boasted that His Family Was Involved in Fighting the Communist Party of the Philippines
According to online records, Sayoc is a registered Republican, who registered with the GOP in Florida in March 2016. Sayoc, who goes by Cesar Altieri Randazzo on Facebook, attended a Donald Trump rally in October 2016 and posted a video. The Facebook page has since been taken down, but there are still photos of him at Donald Trump’s inauguration. You can see that here:
On his LinkedIn page, Sayoc says that his grandfather, Col. Baltazar Zook Sayoc, was a martial arts practitioner who developed his own style of fighting, Sayoc Kali. Sayoc says that style was used to fight the Communist Party of the Philippines. Here is a detailed website about the fighting style. (The Kali Sayoc school, in New York, has issued a statement saying that it has no knowledge of Cesar Sayoc and that it condemns any actions that threaten the democratic process.)
On that LinkedIn profile, Sayoc calls himself a promoter, booking agent and choreographer of a male stripping show as well as burlesque shows in the Miami-area. Sayoc says that he graduated from Brevard College, N.C./Univ of N.C. at Charlotte, earning a Bachelor of Arts in numerous subjects as well as studying veterinary medicine. Sayoc writes on that profile that it was his dream to become a “horse doctor.” He says on his Twitter page that he is a former professional soccer player and cage fighter. The Sun Sentinel reports that Sayoc is the owner of two businesses, Native American Catering and Ver Tech AG.
3. Sayoc Tweeted Regularly of His Belief that Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum Was Funded by George Soros
Sayoc was a prolific tweeter, often duplicating, triplicating or even quadrupling his own tweets. His account tweeted regularly about his belief that Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum was funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Gillum faces off against Republican Ron DeSantis on November 6. On October 24, Sayoc tweeted to gossip site TMZ, “We Unconquered Seminole, Tribe,entire Hard Rock,Millions of our custom say absolutely NO to Andrew Gillum can’t handle his own city Tallahassee,Fl Leon county highest crime ever 4 yrs 70.60%in state Fla.Gillum plan tax all businesses 40%, that stop business.Under FBI investigation.” Sayoc’s account was suspended after his arrest on October 26, but some of his tweets were preserved in screenshots.
Sayoc’s account also sent an angry message to TMZ on Twitter on October 19 that read, “You biggest piece crap media TMZ , that were complete silent Obama separating kids . Shut your hole TMZ before u end like media slime Saudi Arabia. No one deserves it better than fake fraud Washington Amazin owned post . We Unconquered Seminole Tribe agree.” Many of Sayoc’s tweets describe him as a member of the “unconquered Seminole Tribe” although the Seminole Nation has issued a statement clarifying that he was not a member of their tribe.
Sayoc’s van was covered in stickers, many of them political. After his arrest, the Florida MMA promotion group Combat Night issued a statement clarifying that they were not affiliated with Sayoc, although their sticker was on his van.
4. Sayoc Was Charged With Making a Bomb Threat in 2002 & Was Accused of Committing Domestic Violence Against His Own Grandmother
Sayoc has been arrested several times in Broward County, Florida, dating back to 1991, court records show. His most recent arrest in Broward was in 2014. In 2002, he was charged with making a bomb threat in Dade County, Florida, when he threatened to blow up a power company if he turned off his electricity. According to the police report, Sayoc called Florida Power and Light and warned them that “it could be worse than September 11” if he lost his power. He threatened to blow up the company and also threatened the company’s representative with physical harm.
Sayoc was sentenced to one year of probation, and prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges after he completed probation in 2003.
In 1994, a woman named Violet Altieri filed a complaint accusing Sayoc of domestic violence. She later filed a request to withdraw the complaint. Violet Altieri appears to be Cesar’s grandmother.
In 1991, Sayoc was charged with third-degree grand theft, a felony. He pleaded guilty that same year and was sentenced to two years of probation.
Sayoc was arrested on drug charges in 2004. He was accused of possession steroids with intent to sell, and pleaded no contest. In 2014, he again pleaded “no contest” to charges of battery on a merchant and third-degree grand theft. He was accused of stealing copper pipes from a Home Depot in Hollywood, Florida. He was later sentenced to probation. In 2009, Sayoc was charged with operating without a valid license, not having insurance and not having a tag light and was fined after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charges. In 2014, Sayoc was arrested on a petit theft charge and violation of probation. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Sayoc filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and was not married at the time. He was working as a store manager at a supermarket in Hollywood, Florida, at the time. He was also arrested on theft charges in Dade and Palm Beach counties in 1992 and 2015.
For his part, Sayoc claimed that somebody stole seven thousand dollars worth of Trump clothing from his van back in 2015.
5. Political Commentator Rochelle Ritchie Says Sayoc Sent Her Threatening Messages After She Appeared on Fox
After Sayoc’s arrest, a woman named Rochelle Ritchie came forward to say that Sayoc had threatened her over social media in the past. Ritchie is a political commentator who once served as the spokeswoman for the Baltimore City State Prosecutor’s office. Ritchie says that she got threats from Sayoc and that she reported them to Twitter — but, Ritchie says, Twitter ignored the threats.
After Sayoc’s arrest, she wrote, “Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!!”
Sayoc also used his Twitter account to make threats against the Hollywood producer Ron Howard. Just a few weeks before his arrest, Sayoc wrote, “Hey slime sack you movie and u puppet suck.U like make threat Beverly Hills bitch.We Unconquered Seminole Tribe are going answer your threats pathetic scum.We have air boat tour of our Swamp Everglades.Hug your loved ones real close everytime U leave your home.See u soon silence”
Many of Sayoc’s tweets describe him as part of the “unconquered Seminole Tribe.” However, the Seminole Nation has issued a statement announcing that he is not, and never was, a member of their tribe. The statement reads,
“We can find no evidence that Cesar Altieri, Caesar Altieri, Caesar Altieri Sayoc, Ceasar Altieri Randazzo (Facebook) or Julus Cesar Milan (Twitter) is or was a member or employee of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, or is or was an employee of Seminole Gaming or Hard Rock International. At this time, we cannot verify if he is or was an employee of a vendor company.”