Three days after the Capitol attack, the FBI received a tip that a man named Darrell Neely entered the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Neely wasn’t hard to find. According to documents obtained by Rolling Stone, there are multiple screenshots of him taken from open-source video footage from within the building on Jan. 6. In one screenshot, he appears to be holding a cigarette; in another image, he is seen leaving the Capitol building while holding what appears to be a cell phone.
Then there was the matter about a hat. After his arrest on Oct. 18, 2021 on charges related to his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack, Neely admitted to the FBI that he took items from the Capitol including a Capitol Police Officer’s jacket, patch, and baseball cap. He claimed to have discarded everything but the patch, which he wanted to keep as a souvenir and was told if he found it in the future, he’d have to turn it in.
Nearly a year later, Twitter user “@dfneely” posted a U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) baseball cap on sale for $16. The caption read: “The 2022 holiday season is quickly approaching… and I’ve already found a great gift idea!”
There were numerous photos of Neely posted to the Twitter account and his first two initials “D.F.” matched the handle.
The holiday sale appeared to taunt the FBI — Neely was aware that it had launched an investigation into his actions at the Capitol, including the alleged theft for the rogue hat.
The digital breadcrumbs tracing it all back to Neely was overwhelming. He took multiple photographs from his jaunt on Jan. 6, including a selfie of himself on Capitol grounds, which he handed over to the FBI. In the days following the attack, Neely broadcasted the events on his YouTube channel. In one of the videos, he is seen wearing what looks like the same U.S. Capitol baseball cap.
The FBI also reviewed cellular tower records — the cell number associated with Neely’s phone number was identified as being used from the interior of the U.S. Capitol Building.
A witness who was on a video call with Neely during the riots claimed that Neely said he was entering the building. Later that evening, the witness saw Neely and said that Neely was in possession of four china plates and a USCP jacket, badge, name tag, and baseball cap. According to the witness, Neely boasted that he had attacked a USCP officer and had taken these items from the officer.
Still, the FBI has yet to uncover the actual hat, and Neely, who has been dangling the Capitol carrot, has yet to be officially linked to the stolen item.
On December 7, 2021, Neely’s mother’s house, where many of his possessions were located, caught fire. Afterwards, Neely moved his mother and aunt into a hotel for about a month. Since then, Neely and his mother have stayed at two apartments, both of which they were kicked out of by the residents. As a result, his belongings have been moved from several locations.
A search warrant was filed on Sept. 27, 2022 by an FBI agent to enter an Econo Lodge in Greensboro, North Carolina, where Neely is suspected to be staying.
While the FBI continues their investigation into the missing Capitol items, Neely — the man who has multiple selfies and video footage of himself illegally prancing around the building with other rioters on Jan. 6, 2021 — left a message in another Twitter post: “I guess the FBI is more worried about some dummy who lost (and then abandon) their little hat.” Well, you said it.