N.Y. Proud Boy arrested for pepper spraying police on Jan. 6

Aaron Donald Sauer, 43, of Syracuse, N.Y., is accused of pepper spraying police during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress. Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Department
1 of 3 | Aaron Donald Sauer, 43, of Syracuse, N.Y., is accused of pepper spraying police during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress. Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Department

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- FBI agents arrested a New York member of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group on charges of pepper spraying police during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection attempt on Congress after identifying him through his online shopping history.

Aaron Donald Sauer, 43, of Syracuse, N.Y., was arrested Wednesday when he also made his initial appearance in a Northern District of New York courtroom on both felony and misdemeanor charges connected to the storming of the Capitol building with a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump who were trying to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.


Federal prosecutors accuse Sauer of traveling with other members of the Proud Boys including Dominic Pezzola from New York to Washington, D.C., where he participated in the siege on Congress and pepper sprayed police officers defending the facility.


According to a statement of facts on his case, the FBI learned of Sauer's involvement days afterward on Jan. 10, 2021, when an individual identified as Witness 1 told federal agents that they had traveled from Syracuse to the nation's capital with a man they knew as "R" as well as Pezzola.

While in Washington, D.C., the witness had taken a picture of a Volkswagen four-door sedan that belonged to "R," which the federal agents were able to connect to Sauer via Department of Motor Vehicle records and its license plate.

A court-authorized search warrant for Sauer's residence was then executed by the FBI on Jan. 18, 2021, discovering the sedan, several electronic devices, a backpack with tactical gear, including canisters of both pepper and bear spray, as well as a box of Central New York Proud Boys business cards bearing the name "Proud Roni."

That same day the FBI executed a search warrant at the residence of another member of the Proud Boys who identified Sauer by the name Roni and who had pictures of him at the Capitol wearing a camelbak hydration pack. Other photos obtained of the siege included in the court document show Sauer wearing cut-resistant gloves, an American flag balaclava and a wool baseball cap.


Records obtained by the FBI of Sauer's eBay account show that he had purchased these items and others in the days and weeks before Jan. 6, and which the federal agents used to place him at the Capitol amid the siege.

The FBI also included pictures in the court document obtained from the search of the other Proud Boys member showing Sauer discharging pepper spray at a line of police officers.

In text messages Sauer is accused of sending during the siege that were obtained by the federal agents, he wrote "We took the capitol" and "We were the front line for storming the cap. Fought through five police blockades. Took some."

Pezzola, who was a leader of the Proud Boys, was convicted along with three other defendants on May 4 on multiple felonies, though he was acquitted of seditious conspiracy, and was sentenced in August to 10 years in prison.

According to the Justice Department, more than 1,313 people have been charged in connection to the Jan. 6 siege, including 469 people, including Sauer, on accusations of assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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