With Pipe Bomb Suspect in Custody, Here Come the Conspiracy Theories

“These stickers also look like they were printed yesterday.”


As soon as federal authorities identified a suspect in connection to the pipe bombs that have been sent to prominent Democrats across the country, a familiar response kicked into gear.

Even as evidence emerged that the suspect, identified in media reports as Cesar Sayoc of Aventura, Florida, was a registered Republican with a lengthy criminal record, conspiracy theorists posited that he was a “patsy” commissioned by Democrats. Rabble rousers online quickly settled on a white van, which Florida news reports said had been surrounded by FBI agents on Friday, as an object of suspicion. (The van has not been officially connected to Sayoc.) 

Infowars, the conspiracy site owned and operated by conservative firebrand Alex Jones, published a breaking news post Friday that stated, “With perfect timing, eleven days from midterms, leftist media conveniently have their patsy driving a white van plastered with Republican stickers.” 

On his radio show, Jones, who is infamous for calling the mass shooting in Sandy Hook a “false flag” perpetrated by “crisis actors,” has been predicting for weeks that Democrats would engineer an attack and blame it on Republicans before the midterm elections. He has not provided any evidence for his theory. But as reports mounted this week of pipe bombs being sent around the country, right-wing social media accounts promoted the idea that the apparent serial bombing had been ginned up by Democrats. That notion entered the mainstream with mentions from Rush Limbaugh on his radio show and from pro-Trump pundits on Fox News.  

Laura Loomer, a right-wing provocateur who previously worked for Project Veritas, the organization that conducts sting operations to embarrass journalists suspected of liberal bias, echoed the same sentiment in a tweet claiming that the stickers on the van “look like they were printed yesterday.” 

This article is developing and will be updated as more information emerges. 


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.