Lincoln, NE – Investigators for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office tracked down the man who posted an ad in June soliciting paid protesters for Omaha and Lincoln on behalf of antifa in the midst of nationwide riots.
“We are ANTIFA,” the ad posted to Craigslist at 12:08 a.m. on June 1 read, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
“And we’re willing to pay up to 1,000 people $25 per hour for protesters in Lincoln, NE and Omaha, NE. Basically we want to cause as much chaos and destruction as possible,” the ad continued.
“We have a bail fund and legal counsel set up. This will take place every night through the BLM protest on June 13,” the ad explained. “You will be paid nightly, and can come and go as you please. We want chaos to help further our agenda.”
Someone brought the ad to the attention of Lancaster County Sheriff’s Investigator Curtis Reha later that day and he started looking into it, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
Investigator Reha discovered that the man behind the alleged antifa recruiting post was none other than a 33-year-old man who was a registered Republican in Lincoln.
He said the ad was written at 11:15 p.m. on May 31, posted just after midnight, and modified to be unavailable at 5:41 a.m. the same day.
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ben Houchin said deputies and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) talked with the man who posted the ads in late October, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
Deputy Houchin said that man told authorities that he didn’t actually pay anybody and “didn’t want to cause any violence or unrest.”
The man told law enforcement that he knew he shouldn’t have posted the ad but he didn’t explain why he had posted it, and whether it was a joke or had a deeper political motive, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
Critics questioned why it took several months for the authorities to question the man about something they’d known about since June 1.
Deputy Houchin said that in July, the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office issued a subpoena to Craigslist for the subscriber and post information.
Then prosecutors issued a search warrant for the Hotmail account of the individual who posted the ad, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
Investigators wanted to know if anyone had responded to the want ad.
But it turned out the email address was registered to someone else, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
Deputy Houchin said the authorities were unable to charge the man who posted the bogus ad with a crime.
He said law enforcement officials had decided not to cite him for disturbing the peace or arrest him for inciting a riot because there wasn’t any proof he paid anyone or intended to cause violence, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
The case has been closed, according to Deputy Houchin.
But he said that it should serve as a warning to other people about what they post online, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
“Even if you’re just angry or just think it’s funny or whatever, it has a real effect down the road and could cause some unforeseen damage,” Deputy Houchin said.