Breaking News
More () »

Police arrest Tampa Bay man seen carrying Pelosi's lectern

Adam Johnson is charged with theft of government property and two additional counts.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Adam Johnson, the man seen smiling and waving at the camera while carrying the lectern of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the U.S. Capitol riot, has been arrested.

Johnson, a 36-year-old man from Parrish, Florida, was jailed on a federal warrant Friday in Pinellas County, records show. 

He faces charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, one count of theft of government property and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol ground, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the United States Capitol Police.

A photo of Johnson, taken by Getty Images photographer Win McNamee, was one of many that went viral during the armed insurrection of the Capitol on Wednesday by supporters of President Donald Trump. The FBI searched for Johnson as part of a nationwide effort to find and charge those who stormed the building, according to the Bradenton Herald.

RELATED: US Capitol Riot: What we know about the chaos in DC, aftermath

Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
Adam Johnson

"It is alleged that on Jan. 6, 2021, Johnson illegally entered the United States Capitol and removed the Speaker of the House’s lectern from where it had been stored on the House side of the Capitol building," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement. "A search of open sources led law enforcement to Johnson, who is allegedly seen in a widely circulated photo inside the Capitol carrying the lectern."

The Bradenton Herald reports Johnson is a stay-at-home dad who lives with his wife and five children. His prior criminal history includes possession of marijuana and violation of probation charges. 

According to the FBI's "statement of facts" related to Johnson's arrest, publically available social media images and news articles aided an agent to locate the Florida man. The FBI's National Threat Operations Center also received a tip from a caller who claimed they shared a mutual friend with Johnson. 

Further searches, including one that returned Johnson's driver's license picture, led to the positive identification, the FBI said.

READ: FBI "statement of facts" related to Johnson's arrest

The lectern and a gavel that was reported missing were recovered undamaged, The Washington Post reported, citing a spokesperson for the Committee on House Administration.

It was stored on the day of the Capitol attack in the Speaker's Suite, located under a staircase to the third floor of the House side of the Capitol building, the FBI said. A day later, the lectern was found in a corridor on the Senate side of the building.

Trump, in a futile attempt to overturn the 2020 election in which President-elect Joe Biden won, recycled several false claims to a crowd of supporters hours before the riot as Vice President Mike Pence and Congress prepared to count Electoral College votes. 

"If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore," Trump said. "Let the weak ones get out," he continued. "This is a time for strength."

Trump told the crowd he would go with them but didn't.

Pence shortly thereafter issued a statement, breaking with Trump, saying he did not have the authority to reject any electoral votes.

Here's a timeline of events Wednesday that led up to the violent protest at the Capitol and the congressional certification of Biden's win:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

What other people are reading right now:

►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter

Before You Leave, Check This Out