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MAGA rioter turned in to FBI by ex- workers at his sandwich shop

MAGA rioter turned in to FBI by ex- workers at his sandwich shop

When a former employee of a belligerent West Virginia deli owner known locally as the ‘Sandwich Facha’ recognized his old boss from an FBI photo depicting a suspect wanted for taking part in the deadly US Capitol riots, he wasted no time turning him in. 

George Pierre Tanios, 39, and a friend, Julian Elie Khater, were arrested earlier this month on multiple criminal counts, including assaulting police with a deadly weapon and obstructing an official proceeding. 

Tanios is suspected of buying the bear spray that was used on three US Capitol police officers, including Brian Sicknick, who later died. 

George Tanios, 39, a suspected US Capitol rioter and the owner of a West Virginia store called 'Sandwich U,' was turned in to the FBI by a former employee

Tanios shared a selfie from the Capitol in January

George Tanios, 39, a suspected US Capitol rioter and the owner of a West Virginia deli, was turned in to the FBI by a former employee, who recognized him from a ‘wanted’ poster

Tanios owns the 'Sandwich U' shop in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he is said to have a reputation for being combative and aggressive

Tanios owns the ‘Sandwich U’ shop in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he is said to have a reputation for being combative and aggressive 

Tanios has been known to publicly air his pro-Trump views. Pictured: A Donald Trump campaign sign is displayed in the deli's window

Tanios has been known to publicly air his pro-Trump views. Pictured: A Donald Trump campaign sign is displayed in the deli’s window

Khater and Tanios are not charged with killing Sicknick, whose cause of death is still pending. 

According to reporting by The Daily Beast, Tanios operates a shop called ‘Sandwich U’ in Morgantown, where multiple people have described the business owner as combative and quick to anger. 

Several people who have dealt with Tanios in the past told the outlet he has been known to publicly berate workers, deploy mace against unruly customers and air his pro-Trump, COVID-denying views. 

Cory Denkert, a former employee at Tanios’ store, told The Daily Beast it came as no surprise to him when he went on Facebook and saw a selfie depicting his ex-employer posing up at the US Capitol on January 6 in a hooded sweatshirt with the ‘Sandwich U’ logo. 

‘I was laughing,’ Denkert told site. ‘This is exactly what George would do. He’s always been angry, trying to start fights with people. It doesn’t matter how wrong he is, he’s going to be outspoken, in somebody’s face, trying to start something.’

Tanios is pictured in Washington DC on January 6

Julian Elie Khater

Tanios (left) and a friend, Julian Elie Khater (right), were arrested earlier this month on multiple criminal counts stemming from the deadly riots 

Denkert quickly sent Tanios’ selfie from the Capitol to the FBI with a brief message that identified him by name. 

A few weeks later, he received a call from an FBI special agent, who asked to be connected to another person who could confirm the identity of the bearded man in the Facebook selfie. 

Denkert put him in touch with Tanios’ former business partner Kenneth Dufalla, who confirmed without hesitation that the man in both the FBI flyer and the selfie was Tanios.

Tanios is accused of buying bear spray that was used against US Capitol police on January 6, including Officer Brian Sicknick (pictured), who later died

Tanios is accused of buying bear spray that was used against US Capitol police on January 6, including Officer Brian Sicknick (pictured), who later died

‘I can’t imagine how many of his former employees and fraternities are enjoying his apparent downfall right now,’ Dufalla told the news outlet. ‘He was easily the most hated man in Morgantown.’ 

On March 14, FBI agents raided Tanios’ home and arrested him. He appeared in court last week and was ordered held in jail pending future court dates. 

During the court hearing, prosecutors presented evidence that Tanios had purchased the bear and pepper sprays that he brought with him to the Capitol that were then allegedly used by Khater on the officers, including Sicknick.  

Back in Morgantown, West Virginia, Tanios’ former employees were said to have reacted with glee to the news of his arrest. 

‘This has really been a long time coming for him,’ Denkert said.

According to the disgruntled former employee, Tanios on one occasion used a bullhorn to scream at staff and was known to fire people for no apparent cause.

Another ex-worker, Daniel Dentzler, told the outlet that Tanios kept a can of mace in the shop and sometimes used it on customers.  

Tanios' former employer and a former business partner confirmed his identity to the FBI, leading to his arrest

Tanios’ former employer and a former business partner confirmed his identity to the FBI, leading to his arrest 

Dentzler speculated that his former boss modeled his behavior on the classic Seinfeld character ‘The Soup Facha,’ so much so that he referred to himself as ‘The Sandwich Facha’ and would tell people ‘No sandwich for you!’ in a nod to the famous catchphrase from the sitcom.    

Tanios is said to keep a framed photo of 'The Soup Nazi' character from Seinfeld, who was played by Larry Thomas (pictured)

Tanios is said to keep a framed photo of ‘The Soup Facha’ character from Seinfeld, who was played by Larry Thomas (pictured) 

He even kept a framed photo of the fictional TV character, as played by actor Larry Thomas, next to photos of fired workers who were not welcome at the deli. 

During last week’s court hearing, Tanios’ mother, Maguy Tanios, told the court in tears that she had escaped war-torn Lebanon to start a new life after several of her family members were killed.

She denied that she had ever entertained the idea of helping her son flee to Lebanon if he is released from jail pending trial.

‘This is my country,’ she said. ‘I raised my kids here. They are American.’

She said her son goes to church and is a family man who has three small children.

‘My son is not a bad kid,’ she said, and explained his role at the Capitol as him being ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’

In ordering that Tanios be detained, the judge lamented a ‘culture, radicalized by hate’ that played out at the Capitol during a peaceful transition of power.

‘It is hard for me to look at this as anything other than an assault on this nation’s heart,’ the judge said.

Tanios appeared in court last week and was ordered held in jail pending future court dates

Tanios appeared in court last week and was ordered held in jail pending future court dates 

‘They were supporting a president who would not accept the fact that he was defeated in an election.’

‘We’ve created this culture, radicalized by hate, and refusal to accept the result of a democratic process… And given that, two college friends decide let’s go. Why?’

Addressing Tanio directly, the judge said: ‘Why wouldn’t you just turn the other way and go home? The fact that all of them weren’t thinking that – it’s just frightening to me.’

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack that led to five deaths after a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s November election victory.   

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