When a former employee of a belligerent West Virginia deli owner, known locally as the “ Sandwich Nazi, ” recognized his old boss from an FBI photo depicting a suspect wanted to participate in the deadly riot at the Capitol in the US, he had it turned in immediately.
George Pierre Tanios, 39, and a friend, Julian Elie Khater, were arrested earlier this month on multiple criminal cases, including assaulting police with a deadly weapon and obstructing official proceedings.
Tanios is suspected of purchasing the bear spray used on three US Capitol police officers, including Brian Sicknick, who later died.
George Tanios, 39, a suspected rioters in the Capitol and the owner of a West Virginia deli, was reported to the FBI by a former employee who recognized him from a ‘wanted’ poster
Tanios owns the ‘Sandwich U’ store in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he is said to have a reputation for being militant and aggressive
Tanios has been known to publicly express his pro-Trump views. Pictured: A Donald Trump campaign sign is displayed in the deli shop window
Khater and Tanios are not charged with murdering Sicknick, whose cause of death has not yet been finalized.
According to reports by The Daily Beast, Tanios has a shop called ‘Sandwich U’ in Morgantown, where multiple people have described the business owner as combative and quick to anger.
Several people who have dealt with Tanios in the past have told the outlet that he is known to publicly berate employees, use battlegrounds against unruly customers, and proclaim his pro-Trump, COVID-denying views.
Cory Denkert, a former employee at Tanios’s store, told The Daily Beast that it came as no surprise to him when he took to Facebook and saw a selfie of his ex-employer posing in the Capitol on January 6 in a hooded sweatshirt with the ‘Sandwich U’ logo.
“I laughed,” Denkert said to the site. This is exactly what George would do. He’s always been angry and tried to argue with people. No matter how wrong he is, he’ll be out there, in somebody’s face, trying to start something. ‘
Tanios (left) and a friend, Julian Elie Khater (right), were arrested earlier this month on multiple criminal cases as a result of the deadly riot
Denkert quickly sent Tanios’ selfie of the Capitol to the FBI with a short message mentioning him by name.
A few weeks later, he received a call from an FBI special agent asking to be put in touch with another person who could confirm the bearded man’s identity on the Facebook selfie.
Denkert put him in touch with Tanios’ former business partner Kenneth Dufalla, who confirmed without hesitation that the man in both the FBI flyer and the selfie was Tanios.
Tanios is accused of buying bear spray used against Capitol Police on January 6, including Officer Brian Sicknick (pictured), who later died
“I can’t imagine how many of his former employees and fraternities are currently enjoying his apparent demise,” Dufalla told the news outlet. “He was by far the most hated man in Morgantown.”
On March 14, FBI agents raided Tanios’s home and arrested him. He appeared in court last week and was sentenced to imprisonment pending future court dates.
At the hearing, prosecutors presented evidence that Tanios had bought the bear and pepper spray he had taken to the Capitol and then allegedly used by Khater on the officers, including Sicknick.
Back in Morgantown, West Virginia, Tanios’ former employees are said to have responded with joy to the news of his arrest.
“This really took a long time,” said Denkert.
According to the disgruntled ex-employee, Tanios once used a megaphone to yell at staff and was known to fire people for no apparent reason.
Another former employee, Daniel Dentzler, told the point of sale that Tanios had a can of mace in the store and sometimes used it with customers.
Tanios’ former employer and former business partner confirmed his identity to the FBI, which led to his arrest
Dentzler speculated that his former boss so modeled his behavior after the classic Seinfeld character “The Soup Nazi” that he called himself “The Sandwich Nazi” and said to people, “No sandwich for you!” in a nod to the sitcom’s famous catchphrase.
Tanios would keep a framed photo of ‘The Soup Nazi’ character from Seinfeld, played by Larry Thomas (pictured)
He even kept a framed photo of the fictional TV character, played by actor Larry Thomas, alongside photos of laid-off workers who weren’t welcome at the sandwich shop.
At last week’s court hearing, Tanios’s mother, Maguy Tanios, tearfully told the court that she had escaped from war-torn Lebanon to start a new life after several of her relatives were murdered.
She denied ever having the idea of helping her son flee to Lebanon if he is released from prison pending trial.
“This is my country,” she said. ‘I raised my children here. They are American. ‘
She said her son attends church and is a family man who has three small children.
“My son isn’t a bad boy,” she said, explaining his role in the Capitol when he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
In the detention order of Tanios, the judge complained of a “hate-radicalized culture” that took place in the Capitol during a peaceful transfer of power.
“It’s hard for me to see this as anything other than an attack on the heart of this country,” the judge said.
Tanios appeared in court last week and was sentenced to imprisonment pending future court dates
“They supported a president who wouldn’t accept being defeated in an election.”
‘We have created this culture, radicalized by hatred and refusing to accept the result of a democratic process … And given that, two college friends decide we go. Why?’
The judge addressed Tanio directly and said, “Why not just go the other way and go home? The fact that they didn’t all think that – it’s just scary to me. ‘
More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack that resulted in five deaths after a mob of then-supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building in a failed attempt to prevent Congress from taking Joe Biden’s election victory in. November.