FBI busts Capitol rioter who impersonated member of the press
(DOJ Photo)

Matthew Thomas Purse milled among the mob on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol wearing a black tactical vest and helmet both bearing the letters, "PRESS," the FBI reports. He was arrested Friday.

Purse, of Irvine, CA, was seen in photos and videos "entering through the Columbus Door on the eastern side of the building, carrying a long black pole, with what appears to be a recording device at the end of the pole," the criminal complaint states.

The FBI said it was able to identify Purse from photos and videos showing him "wearing a black tactical vest with the words "PRESS" on his chest and back, and a black helmet with the words "PRESS" on either side.

"FBI received information from a confidential source ("CS"), who saw Purse on a livestream on Twitch, a livestreaming platform, believed to be taken on January 6, 2021. During the livestream, Purse, wearing the helmet, 'seems to admit he is not with press.' The CS further described Purse stating to the camera, 'Mission accomplished, we broke into the Capitol.' The video has been since deleted."

It doesn't appear that Purse was the most enterprising fake newsman. Here's how the FBI reported on his time in the building:

"Purse appeared to be standing off to the side, observing the crowd's interactions with the law enforcement officers. At approximately 3:03 pm, as the crowd became more volatile, as depicted below in the red box, Purse crossed the room and exited the Rotunda".

The FBI noted it "does not believe that Purse is a member of the press media or associated with having press credentials related to the U.S. Capitol. (It confirmed that) Purse did not receive any credentials from the Capitol.

"Moreover, (an FBI agent) could not find any employment history for Purse for the last six years while Purse has resided in California, or any employment history ever related to any news media organization."

Purse faces disorderly conduct and unlawful-entry charges. You can read the full FBI criminal complaint here.