Man faces jail for joining Capitol riot after Tinder date

(AP) – A Delaware business owner has been jailed for 30 days for storming the US Capitol after watching the riots erupt on TV on a Tinder date and taking an Uber ride to get around himself join the mob attack, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan also on Friday sentenced Jeffrey Schaefer to pay a $2,000 fine and $500 in damages for his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 riots in Washington.

On the eve of then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, Schaefer drove from Delaware to Northern Virginia to spend the night with a woman he met through the online dating app Tinder. The next day, he decided to Uber to the Capitol after watching the riots unfolding at his date’s house in Alexandria on TV.

“He had the Uber driver drop him off near the west front of the Capitol and approached the Capitol from that drop-off point,” Justice Department prosecutor Anita Eve wrote in a court filing.

Schaefer entered the Capitol through a broken window near the Senate wing doors, joined other rioters in chanting and spent about 28 minutes inside the building before walking through a door, prosecutors said. He posted several images of the uprising to Facebook, including one showing a pile of destroyed media equipment.

Schaefer, 36, of Milton, Delaware, was arrested in January 2022. He pleaded guilty in August to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, an offense carrying a maximum sentence of six months behind bars.

Defense attorney Joshua Insley noted that on Jan. 6, when Congress called a joint session to confirm the results of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, Schaefer was not charged with committing violence or destructive behavior.

Schaefer owns a charter transportation company based in Milton. Once a “dedicated supporter” of Trump, Schaefer now believes he was “manipulated and used by those in power who never face the consequences,” his attorney said.

“While Mr. Schaefer accepts responsibility for his actions, he was guided and hustled every step of the way by authority no less than the President of the United States and a majority of Republican Senators and Congressmen who continued to repeat the ‘big lie’ that the election was stolen by the Democrats,” Insley wrote.

More than 900 people have been charged with crimes related to federal crimes involving the Capitol. Over 460 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to administrative offences. More than 320 of them were convicted, about half of them received prison sentences ranging from seven days to ten years.

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For full coverage of the Capitol riots, visit https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege

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