The FBI has arrested Watertown, New York residents Maryann Mooney-Rondon, 55, and her son, Rafael Rondon, 23, for their connections in the theft of a laptop during the Capital attack on Jan. 6.
A press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York stated that the pair appeared in federal court Friday in Syracuse, New York, and were released pending further proceedings.
In addition to theft of government property, the pair also face other charges in regards to the Capitol riot. These include entering and remaining in a restricted Capitol building or certain rooms, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an official proceeding.
Only the obstruction of an official proceeding is classified as a felony, with the others being misdemeanors.
The younger Rondon also faces charges for an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, of which a maximum sentence carries up to 10 years of prison time and a fine of $250,000.
According to the Associated Press, while the pair weren’t the ones to have physically stolen the laptop, Mooney-Rondon had assisted in the theft by providing her gloves or a scarf to the perpetrator of the laptop, so as to not leave any fingerprints.
“He asked, he said, give me – I don’t know if it was gloves or a scarf I was wearing – and like I said he scared me,” the documents quotes her [Mooney-Rodon] as saying.
Rodon then claimed to FBI agents that he assisted the man in sliding the laptop into his backpack with the gloves or scarf, which the young man said was “probably stupid” of him. The two then went into the Senate gallery, and proceeded to leave after seeing it was flooded with protesters.
The man that Mooney-Rodon and Rodon assisted has not yet been identified.
Numerous media outlets had reported that the laptop belonged to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. While the laptop was taken from Pelosi’s conference room, these reports were false as it was later clarified that the laptop did not belong to Pelosi. The only purpose of the staff-owned laptop was for presentations.
Pelosi’s actual laptop was claimed to be stolen by 22-year-old Harrisburg, Pennsylvania resident Riley Williams. Williams was arrested two weeks following the riot after boasting of stealing the laptop on social media and reportedly planning on selling it to Russian security services.
However, Pelosi’s laptop was not found in Williams’ possession, and it is currently unknown if it was ever recovered by the FBI.
The FBI’s search for Mooney-Rodon and her son created quite a stir for a number of parties involved. As the Associated Press notes, the FBI had raided the business of Paul and Marilyn Hueper in Homer, Alaska back in April, believing they were the ones who had assisted in the laptop theft.
The Huepers had been in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 for the Trump rally that preceded the attack, but did not partake in the breaching of the Capitol. The raid was a case of mistaken identity as the women involved had similar features in photos during that time, such as coats and hairstyles.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Hueper said that while it’s a relief this ordeal is over, she’s concerned about the power the FBI holds that lets them disturb innocent people due to their “poor investigative skills and aggressive tactics,” while also not showing concern for the messy trail they leave behind.
In the 10 months since the capitol riot that was labeled by FBI Director Christopher Wray as “domestic terrorism,” over 668 people have been arrested on countless charges similar to the ones the Mooney-Rodon family is facing.
However, despite the takeover being extremely documented, many violators still have yet to be identified by law enforcement.
Andrew Rhoades is a Contributing Reporter at The National Digest based in New York. A Saint Joseph’s University graduate, Rhoades’ reporting includes sports, U.S., and entertainment. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.