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Thomasville woman charged in U.S. Capitol riot

The 52-year-old is charged with five felonies related to her actions in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 as a part of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group.

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Editor's note: The video in this article is from a previous report.

A woman from North Carolina is charged with five felonies due to her involvement with the Attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Laura Steele, 52, of Thomasville, forcibly entered the Capitol and obstructed the Congressional proceedings, according to the FBI.

Steele worked as a security guard with Novant Health, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. They said they can also revoke a license or registration for violating provisions of the Private Protective Services Act. They have signed an order of summary suspension for Steele’s armed guard registration. The suspect is immediately and she can no longer work as an armed guard until the suspension is lifted.

According to the FBI report, Steele is a member of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary organization whose members believe the federal government “has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy theory that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”

Steele was documented traveling to and participating in the Attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 with members of the Oath Keepers, according to the FBI. She is charged with five federal crimes: aiding and abetting, conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding and restricted building/grounds access.

Different from other conspiracy groups like QAnon, the Oath Keepers focus on recruiting “former military, law enforcement and first-responder personnel.”

The FBI confirmed Steele applied for membership to the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers within the last year. Under the application's Skillset' section, Steele wrote: “I have 13 years of experience in Law Enforcement I North Carolina. I served as a K-9 Officer and SWAT team member. I currently work Private Armed Security for {company name redacted]. I am licensed PPS through the NC Private Protective Services.” according to the FBI report."

On the form, Steele provided her driver’s license, which matched the information the FBI received from the state of North Carolina. The license was useful in further identifying her during the investigation, according to the FBI.

Surveillance video and public photographs show Steele at the Capitol on Jan. 6 “dressed in a uniform consistent with military-style attire, operating as a group with several other similarly attired members of the Oath Keepers militia organization." 

"[Steele] breached the US Capitol, directly or indirectly damaged property of the Capitol and obstructed Congressional proceedings,” according to the FBI.

Cell phone location records obtained by the FBI show Steele was inside the U.S. Capitol building around the time of the riots on Jan. 6.

Further, witnesses said Steele claimed to be a member of the Oath Keepers and was in Washington, D.C. to "provide security." 

Steele was accompanied to Washington, D.C. by her brother, Graydon Young, Kelly and Connie Meggs, and others, who face similar federal charges for their roles in the riots, according to the FBI.

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