Suspect’s van a focus of bomb investigation

See bombing suspect’s van
Michael Hebert/CNN
The van believed to belong to serial bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc outside an LA Fitness gym in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 18, 2018.

After authorities took Cesar Sayoc into custody Friday, many people couldn’t help but notice his white van, its windows covered in eye-catching political images and stickers of President Donald Trump.

Sayoc — who was living in the van, according to a law enforcement official — was arrested in Florida on Friday morning in connection to the series of suspicious explosive packages sent this week to top Democrats, critics of Trump and CNN.

His van’s windows were covered in stickers depicting President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and others.

One sticker that read “CNN Sucks” was also plastered on one of the windows, echoing a chant that sometimes breaks out at Trump rallies.

There also were pictures of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN’s Van Jones, filmmaker Michael Moore and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, with red targets or crosshairs over their images. An edited image that appeared to be former President Barack Obama riding a tricycle also had a target on it.

Another window had images professing more support for Trump that read, “My President.” One graphic read, “We vote pro-life.”

According to a law enforcement official, Sayoc was living in the van after having been kicked out of his parents’ home. The van was so conspicuous that some passersby had noticed the van even before Sayoc was announced as a suspect in connection to this week’s pipe bombs.

It caught the eye of Michael Hebert, who filmed footage of what appeared to be the van outside an LA Fitness gym in Fort Lauderdale on July 18.

Hebert, who goes to the gym, said he’d seen Sayoc there a number of times and had seen the van parked outside.

It stood out to him because of the “political tone,” Hebert told CNN, “which is wild regardless of your (political) views.”

“It’s just too much political stuff,” Hebert said, adding it seemed “a little bit extreme.”

Debra Gureghian, general manager of a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, said Sayoc dressed impeccably during his stint as a delivery driver.

But the one time she went inside the van it was filthy, she recalled, and full of trash, including fast-food boxes. “His van was freaky scary.”

Because of the vehicle’s exterior stickers, she said she would not let Sayoc deliver during the day. And when he did so at night, she said, he would park the van around the corner from patrons. “I got no complaints from customers,” she said.

A law enforcement official told CNN the van was sent to Miramar, where an FBI field office is located. Authorities covered the van in a blue tarp before hauling it away.

Investigators believe that Sayoc made the pipe bombs in that van, two law enforcement sources said. Inside the vehicle were items that could be linked to the packages, including soldering equipment, stamps, envelopes, paper, a printer and powder, the sources said.

Sayoc is a registered Republican, according to Florida Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell, who cited the state’s Division of Elections records. He voted in both the presidential primary and general election in 2016, and in this year’s primary election.

A number of packages containing what looked to be pipe bombs were sent this week to Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Democratic US Rep. Maxine Waters of California. Democratic donor George Soros and actor Robert De Niro, who also has been a vocal Trump critic, were sent packages as well.