Man gets jail for joining Capitol riot after Tinder date
A Delaware business owner has been sentenced to 30 days of incarceration for storming the U.S. Capitol after seeing the riot erupt on a Tinder date's television and taking an Uber ride to join the mob's attack, court records show.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan also on Friday ordered Jeffrey Schaefer to pay a $2,000 fine and $500 in restitution for his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot in Washington.
On the eve of then-President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, Schaefer drove from Delaware to northern Virginia to spend the night at the home of a woman whom he had met on the Tinder online dating app. The next day, he decided to take an Uber ride to the Capitol after seeing the riot unfold on TV at his date's home in Alexandria.
"He had the Uber driver drop him off near the west front of the Capitol and he approached the Capitol from that drop-off point," Justice Department prosecutor Anita Eve wrote in a court filing.
Schaefer entered the Capitol through a broken window near the Senate Wing doors, joined other rioters in chanting and spent approximately 28 minutes inside the building before leaving through a door, prosecutors said. He posted several images of the riot on Facebook, including one showing a pile of destroyed media equipment.
Schaefer, 36, of Milton, Delaware, was arrested in January 2022, He pleaded guilty in August to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of six months behind bars.
Defense attorney Joshua Insley noted that Schaefer wasn't accused of engaging in any violence or destructive conduct on Jan. 6, when Congress had convened a joint session to certify the results of President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.
Schaefer owns a charter transportation company based in Milton. Once a "committed supporter" of Trump, Schaefer now believes he was "manipulated and used by those who hold power and will never face any consequences," his lawyer said.
"While Mr. Schaefer accepts responsibility for his actions, he was guided and urged every step of the way by no less of an authority than the President of the United States and a majority of Republican Senators and Congressman that continued to repeat the 'Big Lie' that the election had been stolen by the Democrats," Insley wrote.
More than 900 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Over 460 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor offenses. Over 320 of them have been sentenced, with roughly half of them receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from seven days to 10 years.