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A serial mail bomb suspect is now in custody in Florida and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. CNN's Drew Griffin takes a closer look at Cesar Sayoc's background and social media presence.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 11:11 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2018 11:31 AM

Hours before his arrest, Cesar Sayoc was playing music sets at a Florida strip club.

Few there were aware of his political views.

"He was a nice guy," Stacy Saccal, the club's general manager, told CNN affiliate WPTV. "He would make jokes, just funny."

At least four times a week over the past two months, the 56-year-old parked his white Dodge van plastered with stickers supporting President Donald Trump and depicting some of Trump's critics with targets over their images near the Ultra Gentlemen's Club in West Palm Beach. Sometimes he would work as a DJ and others as a bouncer.

Sayoc was arrested Friday after federal authorities said he sent 14 pipe bombs through the US mail to prominent Democrats around the country. None of the bombs detonated, and no one was injured. He's facing federal charges and could receive up to 48 years in prison if convicted.

As the investigation continues, here's what we have learned about the suspected bombmaker.

He is a bodybuilder and former male dancer

Sayoc, of Aventura, Florida, is a bodybuilder who worked as a male dancer for several years and most recently as a pizza driver.

On his LinkedIn account, Sayoc described himself as a choreographer and booking agent for male strippers and burlesque shows.

On Twitter, he said he is a "Current Booking Agent/Sales/Marketing/Promotions/Project Mgr Live Events" at Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock International said there was "no evidence" the suspect is or was a member or was employed by any of the three groups. They also said they could not immediately "verify if he is or was an employee of a vendor company."

A cousin, Lenny Altieri, said Sayoc went to good schools and was well-educated. "Brains and common sense are not synonymous," he said.

Sayoc attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from 1983 to 1984 but did not graduate, the school's communications office said. He was an undeclared major who played on the soccer team.

He also went to Brevard College in North Carolina, a school spokeswoman said. He enrolled at Brevard in fall 1980 and attended classes there for three semesters but didn't graduate.

He used to deliver food for a pizza restaurant in Fort Lauderdale until he quit in January. He said he had gotten a job driving a hazardous waste truck in North Carolina, manager Debra Gureghian said.

He appeared to be living in his van

He appears to have been estranged from his family for several years.

A 2012 bankruptcy filing in Florida indicated that Sayoc "lives with his mom, owns no furniture." The 46-page filing, signed by Sayoc in June 2012, lists total assets of $4,175 and liabilities of $21,109.

But an attorney representing Sayoc's family said he has not visited his mom's condo in Aventura for at least three years.

His mother and sisters had urged him to seek medical treatment because he struggled with "a lack of comprehension of reality," attorney Ronald S. Lowy said.

"He thinks there's nothing wrong with him," Lowy said in a telephone interview, shortly after meeting with the suspect's family on Friday.

He said Sayoc's mother, who underwent surgery Friday, "can't understand his behavior or views."

Lowy, the family attorney, said Sayoc's father is Filipino and his mother is Italian. He said Sayoc was not politically active when he met him.

It appears that he was kicked out by his parents and had been living in the white Dodge van where he was found Friday, a law enforcement official said.

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

He has a lengthy criminal history

Sayoc's past is marked by encounters with law enforcement.

Court records show he had been arrested at least nine times, mostly in Florida, for accusations of grand theft, battery, fraud, drug possession and probation violations.

In 2002, he was arrested after Miami police said he threatened to bomb a power company, saying "it would be worse than September 11th."

"The defendant contacted a rep (from) Florida Power and Light Co. ... by telephone and threatened to blow up FPL," a Miami Police Department report about the incident said.

The caller "threatened to blow up the building if FP&L turned off his light," the report said.

He pleaded guilty to the offense, records show, and was sentenced to one year of probation.

In 2014, he was arrested and later pleaded guilty to stealing copper pipes at a Home Depot, records show.

'A model employee' despite views on minorities, former boss says

Gureghian, general manager of New River Pizza and Fresh Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale, said Sayoc was open with her about his views. He calls himself a white supremacist and dislikes gays, African-Americans, Jews and anybody who isn't white, she said.

Gureghian said Sayoc told her that lesbians like her and other minorities should be put on an island. And though he liked her, he told her she would burn in hell, she told CNN.

Even though she hated his political leanings, Gureghian said she didn't fire him because he did his job and there were no complaints.

"He was a model employee," she said, adding that she "can't understand" how he would allegedly send mail bombs.

He posted anti-Muslim memes and slammed politicians

To some of his colleagues, Sayoc was not particularly involved in politics, but his social media accounts and his van tell a different story.

In 2016, Sayoc registered to vote as a Republican in Florida, and a Facebook video showed him in a "Make America Great Again" hat at a Trump rally.

He was prolific on his two Facebook accounts and three Twitter feeds, often posting provocative photos and memes attacking liberals.

He took on Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee in the Florida governor's race, more than 80 times in October alone.

In other posts, Sayoc shared conspiracy theories, memes and articles slamming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent in 2016.

On September 20, in response to a Trump tweet, Sayoc posted a self-shot video of himself at what appears to be a Trump rally.

The text of the tweet threatened former Vice President Joe Biden and former Attorney General Eric Holder, both of whom were targeted by improvised explosive devices discovered this week.

"Go Trump Trump Trump hey Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. And Eric Himpton Holder Sr. Stick your BS all crap you talk where sun doesn't shine . We will meet your threats right to your face soon.Not option we will see you soon .Hug loved ones real close we aren't ones," the tweet read.

But he spoke about bombs only twice on Twitter and the context of those posts isn't entirely clear.

"Bomb squad here," read the first tweet posted September 9.

"Unconquered Seminole Tribe Bomb squad," read a second tweet posted minutes later.

Sayoc also posted virulently anti-Muslim memes and published the address of billionaire investor and Democratic donor George Soros, and photos of the homes of some others who later received bombs.

As recently as Wednesday, Sayoc posted a tweet that was critical of Soros, former President Barack Obama and others. A package to Soros had been recovered two days earlier.

And about two weeks ago, Sayoc tweeted at a political analyst.

"We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home," the tweet said in part.

Rochelle Ritchie reported it as abuse, but Twitter said it wasn't a violation of its rules.

A Facebook representative told CNN that the company had removed Sayoc's account Friday. The rep said that several of Sayoc's previous posts had violated Facebook's community standards and had been removed before his arrest but that none of his posts reported to or discovered by Facebook contained violations of its rules severe enough to remove the account entirely.

Bomb suspect threatened people on Twitter, and Twitter didn't act

Sayoc was not previously known to the Secret Service, law enforcement sources said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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