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Ohio man who stole bourbon from US Capitol pleads guilty in riot case

Robert Anthony Lyon, of Columbus, entered a guilty plea to theft of government property and disorderly and disruptive conduct.

WASHINGTON — An Ohio man accused of stealing a bottle of bourbon during the assault on the U.S. Capitol Building pleaded guilty Monday to two counts in the case.

Robert Anthony Lyon, of Columbus, appeared before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to plead guilty to one count each of theft of government property and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds. Both are Class "A" misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison, but prosecutors said in plea paperwork he faced a likely recommended sentence of 0-6 months behind bars.

Lyon and his friend (and co-defendant) Dustin Thompson were approached by U.S. Capitol Police at around 6 p.m. while sitting at an intersection on the south side of the National Mall. The men told police they were waiting for a rideshare car, but when they went to leave Thompson picked up a coat rack – which the officers noticed appeared to have been taken from the Capitol. The officers then attempted to stop the men, at which point Thompson allegedly fled on foot.

Lyon, who did not run, gave the officers his driver’s license and Thompson’s name and also allowed them to search his bag. Inside they found marijuana and a bottle of bourbon.

Lyon initially told police he hadn’t entered the Capitol, but officers found a text on his phone to Thompson reading, “We need to get the f*** out with this trophy.” Officers said Lyon became “visibly nervous” when they asked about the text and again denied being in the Capitol.

Investigators eventually located surveillance footage appearing to show Lyon and Thompson entering rooms inside the Capitol and exiting with the coat rack and bourbon bottle.

Both men were indicted in February on multiple counts, including theft of government property and a felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Thompson pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He’s currently scheduled to begin trial on April 11. Lyon was scheduled to be sentenced on June 3.

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