A transportation worker from New York who called out sick in order to take part in the Capitol riots appeared before a judge in White Plains on Wednesday on federal charges.
Will Pepe, 31, has been suspended from his job at Metro-North’s Brewster rail yard in upstate New York, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said they are intending to fire him.
Pepe, 31, from Beacon, New York, was arrested on Tuesday and has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building.
He faces a year in jail if convicted of the felony offense.
If it is found that he used or carried a deadly weapon or firearm at the time, he could face 10 years.
Will Pepe, 31, is pictured leaving federal court in White Plains, New York, on Wednesday
Pepe, from Beacon, New York, was arrested on Tuesday and faces a year in prison if convicted
Metro North employee Will Pepe, 31, was recognized by both colleagues and management from a photo distributed by law enforcement. He has since been suspended from the MTA
A federal magistrate judge, Judith C. McCarthy, released Pepe on a $10,000 bond on Wednesday, ordering that he abide by a nighttime curfew, wear a GPS monitoring device and surrender his shotgun and hunting knife to the authorities.
Pepe was ‘restricted from traveling to the District of Columbia for any purpose whatsoever,’ except for any required in-person court hearing, the judge said.
He had been with the MTA for seven years earning $73,000-a-year, but decided to call out sick to head to the event which in itself is a ‘false use of sick leave’.
The MTA said they were seeking to fire him.
‘Those who attacked that symbol of American democracy disqualified themselves from working for the people of New York,’ a spokesman for the authority said in a statement
MTA spokesman Ken Lovett in a statement: ‘Effective immediately this individual has been suspended from Metro-North without pay and will be disciplined in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement pending an investigation.
‘This alleged conduct is abhorrent and goes against the values of Metro-North, New York and the nation.’
His union representative said they were ‘disappointed’ in his behavior.
‘We had no knowledge of this individual’s participation in the events of that day, and we are disappointed that anyone would engage in that type of conduct,’ said Dean Davita, a rep for Local 30 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
Pepe is among hundreds of alleged rioters now under investigation for their involvement in Wednesday’s insurrection.
Pepe was ordered to hand over his shotgun and avoid the Washington DC area
The New Yorker did not speak as he left court in White Plains Wednesday after his arraignment
Pepe, 31, from Beacon, New York, had been with the MTA for seven years earning $73,000-a-year
So far more than 80 people have been arrested in total and 55 are being pursued on federal charges.
On Tuesday the Justice Department said 170 case files had been opened about individuals involved in the riots.
Dozens more remain free and the FBI is scrambling to catch them with public appeals for help and rewards for information after Wednesday’s disastrous attempts by law enforcement to control the crowd.
Their failure to arrest the rioters – many of whom had guns and overpowered them – has outraged millions of Americans who compared the soft touch to the harsh crackdown by police on BLM protesters during the summer.
So far more than 80 people have been arrested in total and 55 are being pursued on federal charges. File photo of protestors on the second floor of the Capitol
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. Police used buttons and tear gas grenades to eventually disperse the crowd. Rioters used metal bars and tear gas as well against the police