Federal investigators have charged a New York man with stealing a cop’s badge and radio during the Capitol riot—then claiming in an FBI interview that he was actually trying to save the officer. D.C. cop Michael Fanone was tased, robbed, and beaten unconscious as he tried to defend a doorway to the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. One rioter even tried to grab Fanone’s gun, saying he wanted to kill the cop with it, according to Fanone. In a criminal complaint filed on Friday, prosecutors allege Thomas Sibick ripped off Fanone’s badge and radio during the melee.
Investigators identified Sibick by comparing photos of him at the riot, sent in by tipsters, with bodycam footage of Sibick attacking Fanone. However, when agents interviewed Sibick, he claimed he was actually trying to pull the cop to safety and inadvertently grabbed his badge and radio. He said he threw the items in a nearby trash can, before changing his story to say he brought them back to his hotel and then home to Buffalo where he threw them in a dumpster. Days later, when cops said they would retrieve CCTV near the dumpster, Sibick became “distraught” and said he “wanted to do the right thing,” the complaint says. He admitted he’d buried the badge in his backyard and bought a metal detector to dig it back up. He returned it to the police in a muddy plastic bag.