Stewart Parks and Matthew Baggott were arrested in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot with the aid of Instagram posts deleted by Parks -- but saved by someone named "Witness 3" -- according to FBI charging documents.
Parks and Baggot, both Tennessee residents, were identified through Instagram photos and conversations that Parks removed January 10, the FBI says. But Witness 3, one of several who report seeing the posts, provided them to the feds.
According to the report, here's what they included:
A photograph of the interior of a Southwest Airlines plane with the caption "ON THE WAY TO DC TO STOP THE STEAL"
A video of a group of people approaching what appears to be an entrance to the Capitol building, including a man in a red sweatshirt, black backpack, and dark baseball hat – later identified as Baggott – throwing an object toward a group of Capitol police officers, as depicted in the still image below
A video outside the Capitol building captioned "PARTY WAS FUN 'TIL THE SWAT SHOWED UP"
With the help of that information, the FBI was able to verify the Southwest Airline passenger records of Parks and Baggot, showing they flew together from Nashville to Baltimore/Washington International airport on the morning of January 6.
The FBI report cited information from other witnesses indicating that Parks and Baggott were friends who had traveled together to the "Stop the Steal" rally. Witness 3 "did not specify how (they) knew PARKS but had access to the Parks Instagram Account."
The FBI report also included text exchanges it recovered that had not been deleted before Parks deactivated his Instagram account on January 10. They also provided background on the mood of the day:
"Participant 1: You guys are famous haha!"
Parks' account: "We ain't giving up. No way in hell Biden is getting the presidency."
Later on the night of January 6, apparently after the photos and videos were removed from the Instagram account, there was this exchange with another participant:
"Participant 2: LOL nooo. Why did you delete the Capitol shit! That was fucking awesome."
"Parks' account: (smile emojis) Let's go out to lunch sometime. I have some things to show you…Let's just say this trip was more eventful than the 8th grade trip ezell took us on"
"Participant 2: It fucking looked like it. I'm glad you took those vids down now because the fbi is hunting yall."
The FBI report also states that the Capitol video also showed this additional bit of evidence: "Parks picks up a hand-held metal detector wand from a table and then puts it back. Approximately 20 seconds later, as more people are exiting the building, Parks picks the wand up again and exits with it."
Parks faces theft charges in addition to those of unlawful and violent entry, impeding official business and disorderly and disruptive conduct that Baggot also faces.
You can read the full FBI complaint here.