A Keene man was charged in federal court Friday in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, with authorities alleging he stole a bottle of wine and a book from a Senate office, among other actions.
Jason Riddle faces charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, theft of government property and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Contacted by phone Friday evening, Riddle said he had not been aware of the charges against him.
“I’m learning this through you,” Riddle told a Sentinel reporter. “I guess I should call the cops.”
FBI agents searched Riddle’s home in Keene on Jan. 22, according to the complaint by FBI Special Agent Kevin M. Helson, which says that during the search, Riddle agreed to an interview with the agents. Riddle said Friday evening that he “knew there was a good chance” he would be charged in the case, but that law enforcement officials had yet to contact him further. When they do, Riddle said he intends to turn himself in.
No hearings have been scheduled yet in Riddle’s criminal case, according to court records.
In the criminal complaint, Helson wrote that federal authorities learned of Riddle’s involvement in the storming of the Capitol when multiple people contacted the FBI about an interview Riddle gave to NBC10 in Boston. During the Jan. 9 interview, Riddle admitted to entering the Capitol because he “just had to see it,” and added that he did not regret his decision to go in.
Riddle, a former mail carrier and former corrections officer, told The Sentinel on Jan. 7 that he went into the Capitol after a mob of rioters supporting President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his election defeat breached the building. He said his only involvement in the chaos was finding a liquor cabinet and pouring himself a glass of wine. Riddle also denounced the violence that unfolded, which led to the deaths of at least five people.
According to the criminal complaint, Riddle told FBI agents during the Jan. 22 interview that he followed a crowd of rioters into the Capitol and took an open bottle of wine, which he drank from as he walked around the building, and a reddish-brown leather book from an office.
“Riddle stated that, shortly after he exited the Capitol, he sold the book to an unknown male individual for $40,” Helson wrote in the complaint. “Riddle also admitted that he stole a small Fox News football from the same office, but tossed it aside as he exited the Capitol building.”
Authorities then used security footage from the Capitol, photos they recovered from Riddle’s cellphone and an interview with a U.S. Senate staffer to determine that Riddle took the wine and book from the Office of the Parliamentarian, according to the complaint. The Senate Parliamentarian is the body’s adviser on the interpretation of rules and procedures.
Helson wrote in the complaint that authorities were able to recover some images from his phone, even through Riddle told FBI agents that “he had deleted some messages, photos, and videos of his D.C. trip from his phone, during what he termed a ‘delete frenzy.’”