A liberal woman has shared how she disguised herself as a MAGA supporter on dating app Bumble to bring in a suspected Capitol rioter.
The woman, named only Claire, says she reinstalled the app after a long hiatus when she realized she could help the FBI catch the troublemakers.
She said Huffington Post how she deleted a photo of herself wearing a vagina hat on a feminist march, uploaded a generic-looking photo of herself on a boat, and changed her political leanings to “conservative.”
Claire then managed to land Andrew Quentin Taake, 32, who sent her a photo of herself allegedly in revolt, and allegedly bragging about pepper spray during the Capitol violence.
When Claire recalled the trigger for the unusual stab operation, Claire said, “I watched the news and saw everyone walking back.
“It felt a bit pointless for me to be so close and not be proactive about it.”
She said it was a call from then-President-elect Biden to help catch rioters urging her on.
“Okay, fine,” Claire thought. ‘I will.’
She quickly turned to Bumble, which allows female users to take the first step and start conversations, after she rejected dating apps due to COVID-19.
She eventually matched up with Taake, whose profile said he was just eight miles away in Alexandria, Virginia.
A Bumble contest shared these screenshots with the FBI, where he sent a selfie (right) of the Capitol riots and bragged that he had just been pepper sprayed
FBI says Taake brandished a whip during the riots and used it to attack Capitol police officers
A criminal complaint describes the charges against Taake in connection with the riots
After exchanging enough pleasantries for Taake to let his guard down, despite what “Claire” considered to be “comically minimal ego stroking,” she began investigating him and getting information when she learned he was in the country’s Capitol.
“Were you near all the action?” she asked.
“Yes,” he replied, adding that he was there to prevent “rioters” and people who were “clearly antifa.”
‘From the beginning.’ Many rioters claim that Antifa – a far-left group known for its violent behavior – was actually behind the riots, disguising itself as Trump fans to cause trouble, although there is no evidence that this happened.
“Claire” even managed to get Taake to send a photo of himself amid the rioters just before being sprayed “pepper spray” by a police officer, he told her.
He is also said to have hinted that he wants to cause even more trouble ahead of Biden’s inauguration, saying, “There are too many criminal things to come out. There are many willing patriots ready and willing to go back (to DC) depending on what happens.”
Once she was sure she was communicating with a Capitol rioter, she looked up his Bumble profile for identifying information, where she discovered the name of the company he co-owned and eventually his Facebook profile.
She took Taake’s name and profiles, along with three other MAGA Capitol rioters with whom she had communicated, and passed them on to the FBI.
“I basically just asked, ‘Wow, crazy, tell me more’ over and over until they gave me enough,” she told HuffPost. One of my friends said, ‘You basically have all these confessions just like ‘haha! Than what?”
Three months later, a special agent contacted her to ask for more information. Then, six months after their first Bumble exchange, Taake was formally arrested.
Investigators said Taake, 32, whipped and pepper sprayed Capitol police officers during the Jan. 6 riot.
But even when Taake took part in the storming of the Capitol, he was actively trying to get a love interest on Bumble, sending selfies of himself joining the crowd, according to one indictment.
Taake never met his Bumble match in person, and just days later, on January 9, the match came to the FBI, who provided incriminating screenshots to investigators.
The screenshots include a selfie Taake sent, which the indictment said was taken “about 30 minutes” after being sprayed with pepper spray.
Although Bumble profiles only list first names, Taake identified him as the owner of Hi-Flow Houston, a powerwash service, which allowed the FBI to quickly uncover his true identity.
Investigators discovered a number of public videos and surveillance footage from the Capitol that show Taake participating in the riots and entering the Capitol illegally.
One of the images in the complaint appears to show Taake spraying Capitol police in the face with pepper spray.
Other footage shows Taake wielding a whip-like weapon and using it to attack Capitol agents before retreating into the crowd, according to the indictment.
Capitol surveillance footage shows Taake roaming the building’s hallways with the whip, the FBI said.
An image in the complaint appears to show Taake Capitol police officers spraying pepper spray in the face
Other footage shows Taake wielding a whip-like weapon and using it to attack Capitol agents before retreating into the crowd, the FBI said.
The FBI says this bodycam footage shows Taake participating in the riots
The FBI was also able to confirm that Taake took a Spirit Airlines flight from Houston to Baltimore/Washington International Airport on Jan. 5, before returning to Texas on Jan. 8, according to the complaint.
Cell tower data also placed it in the Capitol area during the riots, the FBI said.
FBI agents interviewed Taake at his Houston home and said they could identify him with certainty as the man featured in the incriminating Capitol footage.
Taake is charged with assaulting, resisting or hindering certain officials, obstructing official proceedings and also faces several other federal charges.
He first appeared in court on Friday and is being held in federal custody. It was not clear if he had a lawyer to speak on his behalf.
Taake can be seen in this surveillance footage entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, FBI says
According to the FBI, Taake was seen wandering the Capitol holding his whip weapon
Taake boldly carried his whip through the halls of Congress, FBI said
It’s not the first time Bumble has been used to arrest a Capitol rioter.
In April, Robert Chapman of New York told one of his Bumble matches that he had “stormed the Capitol” and said he had “made it all the way to Statuary Hall.”
The other Bumble user replied “we’re not a match” and quickly notified the FBI.
Chapman was arrested and charged with entering prohibited buildings and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds, and is due to appear in court on Sept. 10.
After the riot, Bumble for a while turned off the ability to search for matches based on political affiliation, after reports that some users tried to raid conservatives and get them to impeach themselves in the riot.
More than 535 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol violation, including at least 165 charged with assaulting or obstructing law enforcement.
The investigation continues.