MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – According to the criminal complaint, Brandon Wolfe identified himself in a picture to authorities. In it, he’s standing shirtless, holding up a baton, in front of a visibly burning building.
On Tuesday, Wolfe made his first appearance in federal court on charges of arson. Proceedings were done via zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Authorities say someone in a Menards in St. Paul called police when Wolfe tried to get into the store on June 3, wearing body armor and carrying a baton.
Wolfe had been fired from his job as a security guard at the store earlier that day, after someone discovered a post on his social media talking about stealing from Minneapolis Police Department’s third precinct.
On May 29, Wolfe posted a photo to Instagram that read, “We didn’t need to burn it down. This is our community.”
When Wolfe was arrested, he was found with several stolen items, including handcuffs, an earphone piece, and a knife. He admitted that he took property from the third precinct and that he pushed a wooden barrel into the fire.
During Tuesday’s hearing, he simply said “yes ma’m” when asked questions by the judge. Proceedings were done via a Zoom call due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Setting fire to a business that affects interstate commerce is a very serious crime,” ATF special agent in charge Terry Henderson said.
Investigators are still looking for at least twelve others involved in arson cases following George Floyd’s death. They released new security video hoping the public can identify the people in them.
“I am fully confident that working with our local state and federal partners we’ll be able to identify these individuals,” Henderson said.
Federal officials are asking anyone with information about people starting fires to come forward. You can contact them at 1-888-ATF-TIPS.