Accused Capitol rioter gave his location away on Snapchat heatmap, FBI says

A tipster ‘provided a screenshot of the Snapchat user’s profile which shows a heatmap displaying the user’s location,’ the FBI says

Nathan Place
New York
Thursday 23 September 2021 19:02

The Digital Trail to Capitol Rioters

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A man accused of taking part in the Capitol riot was caught in part because he posted his location on a Snapchat “heatmap,” court records show.

According to a criminal complaint, the FBI learned of Matthew Buckler’s alleged involvement in the 6 January insurrection when a tipster sent the bureau some screenshots of his Snapchat stories.

“In this screen capture video, an individual wearing a black jacket over a white hooded sweatshirt, and a black baseball cap with white letters spelling ‘TRUMP’ can be seen in a crowd chanting ‘USA,’” the complaint says. “The user name visible reads ‘matt’s priv’ and when the video concludes, the user display name ‘Matt Buckler’ is present.”

But that wasn’t the only evidence. As the document goes on to explain, Mr Buckler also appeared on a “heatmap” feature explicitly showing where he was.

“Tipster 1 also provided a screenshot of the Snapchat user’s profile which shows a heatmap displaying the user’s location,” the FBI wrote. “The bitmoji on this screenshot is labeled ‘Matt’ and is placed prominently on top of a satellite image of the US Capitol Building and grounds.”

Since then, Mr Buckler has admitted to entering the Capitol on 6 January, the FBI says. Screenshots from his Snapchat videos clearly show his face among the crowds in the building.

Mr Buckler was arrested on 17 September in Washington DC. He has been charged with knowingly entering restricted grounds, disorderly conduct, and parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds. His next status hearing is scheduled for 22 November.

According to the Department of Justice, more than 600 people have been arrested in connection to the 6 January assault, when a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol. Of those 600, 185 have been charged with assaulting or impeding police officers.

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