FBI Identifies Cop-Car Arson Suspect by Custom Shirt She Bought on Etsy

Posted: Jun 18, 2020 3:40 PM
FBI Identifies Cop-Car Arson Suspect by Custom Shirt She Bought on Etsy

Source: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

FBI agents were able to identify a woman accused of setting fire to police vehicles during a "peaceful" protest over so-called "police brutality" in Philadelphia by tracking down a custom shirt the suspect was wearing during the incident. 

33-year-old Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal now faces two counts of felony arson for allegedly setting fire to two Philadelphia Police Department vehicles on May 30, the Daily Mail reported. Blumenthal allegedly used a piece of burning wood from a police barrier to ignite fires to both vehicles.

Using Instagram posts and other photographs taken of the riot, FBI agents were able to determine the wording on the suspect's shirt which read, "KEEP THE IMMIGRANTS, DEPORT THE RACISTS." Agents found the custom shirt was sold on Etsy and that one user had left a review of the item. The person leaving the review identified Philadelphia as her place of residence. 

By Googling the reviewers' URL, agents discovered an account on Poshmark with the name "Lore-Elisabeth." Agents then found on LinkedIn a "Lore-Elisabeth" who worked as a massage therapist in Philadelphia. Agents used videos from the company's Vimeo account to compare identifying tattoos and other marks on the employee with those on the suspect in pictures taken of the incident. Agents used a phone number from the website to obtain the suspect's address and DMV photograph. 

A subpoena also compelled Etsy to verify the purchased shirt was in fact delivered to a Lore-Elisabeth living in Philadelphia. 

"Masses of people took to the streets of Philadelphia on May 30, exercising their right to peacefully protest," said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division Michael J. Driscoll in a press release. "They were there to send a message in which they truly believed. Sprinkled among the crowd, though, were agitators, whose sole purpose was to commit crimes and cause chaos. As alleged, Blumenthal came prepared for just that, carrying out these arsons that destroyed property and put many lives at risk."

If found guilty, Blumenthal faces a possible prison sentence of 80 years, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000.