FBI agents arrested a Bay Point resident Tuesday morning after he had been charged with threatening family members of a New York congressman and a journalist in text messages sent during the attack on the Capitol earlier this month.
The identities of the member of Congress and the journalist were not revealed in court papers.
The charges against Robert Lemke were originally filed in federal court in New York City. According to Katherine Zackel of the FBI’s office in San Francisco, Lemke was arrested on Azores Circle in Bay Point. He is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Northern California on Wednesday.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a news release that Lemke was dissatisfied with the 2020 presidential election results and statements the U.S. representative and journalist had made about it.
“Rather than peaceably disagree, Lemke allegedly threatened to harm those individuals’ families, demanding they retract their statements. While in any election it is inevitable that some will be disappointed in the result, threats of violence cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Lemke had falsely identified himself on Facebook as a retired Alameda County sheriff’s deputy. A spokesman from the sheriff’s office called that claim false. Lemke also claimed to be a retired Air Force captain on Facebook.
William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of New York City’s FBI office, said Lemke’s threats “crossed a bright line.”
According to the criminal complaint, Lemke on Jan. 6 sent text messages to the brother of a New York City congressman that included a picture of a home located in the brother’s neighborhood.
One text said:
“Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words. We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him.”
The message continued:
“We are not far from his either. Already spoke to (the congressman’s son) and know where his kids are.”
The complaint said the text messages included claims that the sender and his associates were not white supremacists and were “active/retired law enforcement or military.”