The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department are now offering $500,000 for information leading to an arrest of the person who placed pipe bombs near the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, the night before the 2021 US Capitol riot, the FBI announced Wednesday.
The announcement represents a sharp increase in the amount of money the government is willing to pay for information in the investigation: the monetary reward had previously stood at $100,000 prior to Wednesday, up from the $50,000 the bureau initially offered in the wake of the riot.
The increased amount comes days before the two-year anniversary of the insurrection. Little information has been released about the investigation since the pipe bombs, which were viable but never detonated, were discovered.
“With the significantly increased reward, we urge those who may have previously hesitated to contact us – or who may not have realized they had important information – to review the information on our website and come forward with anything relevant,” said David Sundberg, the assistant director in charge of the FBI field office in DC, in a statement.
“Despite the unprecedented volume of data review involved in this case, the FBI and our partners continue to work relentlessly to bring the perpetrator of these dangerous attempted attacks to justice,” Sundberg added.
The statement said that investigators have “conducted around 1,000 interviews, visited more than 1,200 residences and businesses, collected more than 39,000 videos, and assessed nearly 500 tips” about the pipe bomber.
The bombs were discovered within minutes of each other around 1 p.m. ET on January 6, just around the time that a mob of angry supporters of then-President Donald Trump descended on the building after a nearby rally with the president, according to an account the acting chief of the US Capitol gave to lawmakers in January and the FBI poster.
According to the FBI, the individual placed the two pipe bombs between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on January 5, 2021.
Security footage released by the FBI shows the person was carrying a backpack in their hand and wearing a face mask, gray hooded sweatshirt and black and light grey Nike Air Max Speed Turf sneakers with a yellow logo.
In releasing additional footage in September 2021, the FBI said that “reviews of the suspect’s behavior in video footage and interviews with residents in the Capitol Hill neighborhood have led the FBI to believe the suspect is not from the area.”
CNN previously reported the devices had been rigged to egg timers and filled with an explosive powder. Officers from the ATF, FBI, US Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan Police had responded to the scene at the two offices, which are less than a quarter mile apart and just blocks south of the Capitol, and the bombs were safely detonated at the scene by robots.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday acknowledged the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Capitol riot, saying in a statement that the Justice Department’s work of prosecuting those who attacked democracy is “far from over.”
“Two years ago, the United States Capitol was attacked as lawmakers met to affirm the results of a presidential election,” Garland said. “Perpetrators attacked police officers, targeted and assaulted members of the media, and interfered with a fundamental element of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.”
The DOJ released updated figures on its sprawling criminal investigation, announcing that more than 950 defendants have been arrested for their alleged participation in the riot, more than 284 of whom have been charged with assault, and 99 with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.
Of the nearly 1,000 defendants, 484 have pleaded guilty, the department said, and 40 defendants have been found guilty after taking their cases to trial in DC. Only one January 6 defendant has been acquitted of all charges relating to the riot.
Law enforcement officials are still looking for approximately 350 people who the department believes were involved in violence at the Capitol, including 250 who allegedly assaulted police.
CLARIFICATION: This headline and story has been updated to reflect that along with the FBI, the ATF and DC police have increased the reward amount.