Rachel Marie Powell of Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania, “is in custody,” Margaret Philbin, a spokesperson for the Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney’s Office, told The Daily Beast.
Powell, 40, was apprehended Thursday night in New Castle, according to Philbin. She could not immediately be reached for comment.
The cheese and yogurt purveyor—dubbed “the bullhorn lady” after video emerged of Powell appearing to shout orders through a bullhorn during the Jan. 6 sacking of the Capitol—was apparently not home when the FBI raided her house Thursday afternoon. Neighbors told local news reporters that Powell and her family had lived there for several years but mostly kept to themselves.
According to a complaint filed Friday in federal court, Powell is facing charges of obstruction, depredation of government property, entering a restricted building with a dangerous weapon, and violent entry/disorderly conduct.
The filing says Powell used a pipe to smash a window at the Capitol, causing more than $1,000 in damages. An anonymous tipster first outed Powell to the FBI, it explains, and gave agents the link to Powell’s Facebook profile. There, agents were able to match photos of Powell wearing a distinctive set of earmuffs with those she was seen wearing at the Capitol.
At a preliminary hearing held Friday afternoon via Zoom, Powell dialed in from jail, dressed in a yellow detainee uniform. Her lawyer, Michael Engle, told Judge Patricia Dodge that he hadn’t yet been able to contact Powell at the detention center where she will remain locked up pending her next court appearance on Feb. 9. Addressing Powell directly, Engle said he would try to speak with her this weekend but promised to be in touch no later than Monday.
Powell, who did not speak and remained expressionless during the hearing, faces decades behind bars, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, if convicted on all counts.
After being seen on video during the Jan. 6 riot in a pink hat and sunglasses, Powell gained her signature moniker, though she was also known as “Pink Hat Lady.”
“People should probably coordinate together if you’re going to take this building,” Powell shouted through a shattered window to a group of insurrectionists inside the Capitol. “We got another window to break to make in-and-out easy.”
Powell, who became the subject of her own FBI “Wanted” poster, agreed to an interview with Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker before she was charged.
Originally from Anaheim, California, Powell told Farrow that she acted spontaneously on Jan. 6, and was “not part of a plot.”
“I have no military background…. I’m a mom with eight kids,” she said. “That’s it. I work. And I garden. And raise chickens. And sell cheese at a farmers’ market…. Listen, if somebody doesn’t help and direct people, then do more people die? That’s all I’m going to say about that. I can’t say anymore. I need to talk to an attorney.”
Powell apparently became radicalized during the past year or so: When she wasn’t…