In the news video, a police sedan was already "engulfed in flames" when the suspect "entered from the top of the frame and removed a flaming piece of a wooden police barricade from the rear window of the sedan that was already on ﬁre, and then shoved the flaming wood into the SUV that was not on ﬁre. Within minutes of that, the SUV was then completely engulfed in flames." This happened on May 30 after a protest over the death of George Floyd. The affidavit says, "While the protest earlier in the day was peaceful, violence erupted later on in the day," including the arson of police cars.
More footage of the arson came in a video posted on Vimeo that "clearly depicts the same female subject removing a flaming piece of wooden barricade from the marked PPD [Philadelphia Police Dept.] sedan and shoving it through the window of the marked PPD SUV," the affidavit said. An Instagram user had also posted a photo that "shows the female subject moving away from the sedan after it is on fire, and shows her backpack." The owner of the Instagram account provided more photos he had taken to the FBI, and another amateur photographer provided about 500 pictures taken that day in Philadelphia.
While the law requires that FBI searches of such data be related to investigations in which agents have reasonable suspicion that crimes are occurring or in which national security is at risk, assessments provide an enormous loophole that potentially allows agents to search through the communications of any American without a warrant.
Etsy review points to more evidenceEven with video and photos, the FBI wasn't yet able to identify the suspect because her face wasn't visible. But the T-shirt she wore was unique and sold on Etsy, so FBI agents read the reviews on the seller's Etsy page to see if anyone from the Philadelphia area had purchased it. Blumenthal had left a 5-star review that said, "Fast shipping, thanks very much!" from her username "alleycatlore," and her Etsy profile displayed her location as Philadelphia, the affidavit said. The FBI did not yet have her full name, so they did a search for "alleycatlore" and found a user on the online fashion marketplace Poshmark "with a display name of 'lore-elisabeth,'" the affidavit said. A search for "Lore Elisabeth" in Philadelphia turned up "a LinkedIn profile for an individual matching the name 'Lore Elisabeth' who appears to be employed as a massage therapist with a company that provides massage therapy services."
Pictures of the alleged arsonist showed a tattoo of a peace sign on her right forearm, and that tattoo was visible in a four-year-old video of Lore Elisabeth performing a massage on her business's website. The website had a phone number for Lore Elisabeth, and Carpenter said the FBI used the Department of Homeland Security's Electronic System for Travel Authorization to confirm that the number "is associated with Lore Blumenthal," with an address on West Duval Street in Philadelphia. A further search of Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles records found a DMV photo of Blumenthal along with her address and date of birth.
The FBI subsequently obtained records from the Etsy store owner via a subpoena. The records "confirmed that this user did purchase two T-shirts reading 'Keep the immigrants, deport the racists' on March 10, 2020," the affidavit said. One of the purchased T-shirts was in the same light blue color seen in video of the arson, and the shirts had been shipped to the same West Duval Street address connected to Blumenthal. A search of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation records identified a car registered to Blumenthal at the same address. FBI agents conducted surveillance of the address and saw the car "parked and unoccupied at/near that location."
From Lore Blumenthal's Etsy review of a T-shirt, her profiles on Poshmark and LinkedIn, and the tattoo visible on a video posted to her massage therapy website, the FBI found the details they needed to match the arsonist seen in photos and video to government records, the affidavit said. "Blumenthal, who is charged with two counts of knowingly causing malicious destruction, is in federal custody. The federal charges were lodged because the Philly police receive funding from the US government," PennLive reported. "If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of eighty years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $500,000," a press release from the Department of Justice and US Attorney's office said.
"We at the US Attorney's Office fully support the First Amendment right of the people to assemble peaceably and to petition their government," US Attorney William M. McSwain said. "But torching a police car has nothing to do with peaceful protest or any legitimate message. It is a violent and despicable act that will be prosecuted in this district to the fullest extent of the law."