The latest in our ongoing series covering January 6 rioters who have been arrested, convicted and sentenced deals with Dustin Thompson of Ohio, who faced the music yesterday. Like many others that we’ve covered here, Thompson was not among the front ranks of rioters who broke down windows and doors, damaging Capitol property. Nor did he get into any sort of physical altercation with the Capitol Hill Police. But his story does have one twist that adds another layer to his nefarious activities on that fateful day. He confessed to stealing some things from the Senate Parliamentarian’s office. Two things, to be precise. And that clearly moves him up closer to the top of the most wanted list. We’ll get to the details in a moment, but suffice it to say that Mr. Thompson will be spending three years behind bars for his participation in the riot. (Law and Crime)
The Ohio man who stole a bottle of bourbon and a coat rack from the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 — and admitted lying in his trial testimony about why he did it — will spend years in prison.
Dustin Thompson, 38, was convicted in April after a three-day jury trial of obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony, and five misdemeanors, including theft of government property and offenses relating to disorderly conduct and trespassing.
According to prosecutors, Thompson and his co-defendant, Robert Anthony Lyon, 28, went to the Capitol on Jan. 6 after Donald Trump, falsely claiming that Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win was due to voter fraud, instructed his supporters to protest Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote.
You can read the Department of Justice summary of Thompson’s crimes and conviction here. It’s even shorter than most of the ones we’ve covered here previously. They couldn’t seem to think of very much to say about Dustin Thompson’s crime wave or attempt to end democracy.
As noted in the excerpt above, Dustin Thompson was relatively late to join the action and wasn’t accused of getting physical with anyone. Just as with previous defendants, he was hit with one felony for Obstruction of an Official Proceeding. The rest of the charges were misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct and (of course) “parading.” (The jails will soon run out of room for all of the paraders being taken off the streets.)
But then there is the added element of theft. Let’s talk about that for a moment. Thompson allegedly entered the Senate Parliamentarian’s office and first stole a bottle of bourbon. He left the building, but returned again, this time with an accomplice, and together they stole a coat rack from the same office. A more curious reporter might have paused to ask why the Senate Parliamentarian had a bottle of bourbon in her office to begin with. Does Elizabeth MacDonough make a habit of drinking on the job? Perhaps some questions are better left unanswered.
As for the theft of the coat rack and the booze, the coat racks used in offices don’t tend to cost all that much. But even if it was a really nice one, it probably didn’t cost more than 300 bucks. (And that’s ignoring the fact that it’s used and its resale value would be a lot less.) Toss in the bottle of bourbon, assuming the Parliamentarian has very top-shelf tastes, and you’re talking another couple of hundred dollars at most, further assuming the bottle was unopened.
In the District of Columbia, the theft of merchandise worth less than $1,000 is classified as Theft II. It’s a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and no more than a $1,000 fine. For someone with no priors, the penalty would be far, far less. Of course, since this took place in the Capitol Building, it’s not just simple theft. It’s “Theft of Government Property” which is clearly far more serious and deserves some number of lashes while tied to a tree or something. Even if the “government property” in question was a bottle of booze and a coat rack.
So Dustin Thompson, like so many before him, was basically guilty of trespassing with the additional crime of taking two things that didn’t belong to him. For that, he’s going to do three years in prison. Neither of those activities is legal and he should rightly be held accountable. But keep in mind that we’re learning about this sentencing during the same week when a New York City BLM rioter who literally firebombed a police cruiser with a Molotov cocktail and handed out explosive devices to other rioters was sentenced to fifteen months. That’s less than half of the time that Dustin Thompson received for taking some bourbon and a used coat rack while trespassing. If it helps you sleep better at night to believe that this sounds like the equal administration of justice, you go with that.