An anti-Trump arsonist who was identified from GPS data he willingly uploaded online will be charged for his crimes, according to the Democrat district attorney.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman (D) announced on Monday that the suspect in the arson will face misdemeanor criminal charges — just two counts of injury to real property. Critics are arguing that these charges are not enough, though many initially expected that the suspect would not end up facing any charges in Democrat-controlled Raleigh, North Carolina.
Freeman did not identify the suspect, noting that she could not name him until the charges were served.
However, the suspect had already been identified by an anonymous internet sleuth after footage of his crimes was shared on social media.
John Kane, a local businessman and Republican political activist in Raleigh, shared footage on social media earlier this month of a man kicking and setting fire to a “Trump Won” sign on his property.
In the footage, the unhinged man can be seen riding up to the sign on a bicycle, kicking it repeatedly, and then leaving. He is then seen coming back days later with a lighter and setting it on fire. In the footage, it is clear that the man planned this crime and is aware that the fire could have spread to the surrounding trees and even the home — as he is seen attempting to move an American flag out of the way before lighting the sign below it on fire. Kane later replaces his sign, and the man comes back days later and sets the new sign on fire.
Kane shared the footage to X, formerly known as Twitter, asking his followers to “help me make him a felon” and offering a $1,000 reward. Two prominent political commentators, Tim Pool and Benny Johnson, each added $5,000 to the reward.
— John Kane (@johnmkane1776) August 18, 2023
An anonymous internet sleuth from California later contacted Kane’s attorney, James R. Lawrence III, with information from the arsonist’s account on the hiking, cycling, and run tracking app Strava. The alleged arsonist was identified as registered Democrat James White Jr. — who reportedly tracked three bicycle rides between August 12, 15, and 18, all of which coincide with the dates of the vandalism. The GPS data from each of these rides confirm that he traveled past Kane’s residence.
While the suspect has been charged with injury to property, his actions go well beyond that — as the arson was clearly premeditated and could have caused much more damage than burning down a small sign, as Kane noted in a follow-up video posted to X.
In the video, Kane explained how dangerous the arsonist’s actions were — pointing out that without the steel brackets reinforcing his sign, the resulting flames could have engulfed neighboring trees and ultimately set fire to his house “with my young family inside.”
“This is not OK in America,” Kane added. “I don’t care who you support politically. None of us can accept a country where someone can be so triggered by someone’s support of a majority party political candidate that they come and commit premeditated arson on their home. Really an attempt to kill them.”
A quick update on the political sign arsonist in Raleigh, NC and why it matters. pic.twitter.com/a21r5wW0WO
— John Kane (@johnmkane1776) August 21, 2023