Report: Hidden camera caught Bachmann aide

The surveillance devices had been installed for months

By Alex Halperin
Published July 17, 2013 1:15PM (EDT)
Michele Bachmann                                 (Reuters/Larry Downing)
Michele Bachmann (Reuters/Larry Downing)

The aide of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R.-Minn., Javier Sanchez, who was arrested for theft on Monday, had been the focus of a hidden camera operation set up by the Capitol Police, the Star-Tribune reports:

According to a court affidavit, U.S. Capitol Police responding to earlier theft reports installed a hidden camera in Bachmann’s congressional office on April 4. They also left bait money in two envelopes, one containing $80, marked “petty cash,” and another with $120 marked “Birthday Money.”
The money was discovered missing on June 25, and a subsequent check of the surveillance footage determined that the cash from at least one of the envelopes was taken two weeks earlier.
Sanchez, 37, was arrested on Thursday after a “non-custodial interview” with police where he denied any wrongdoing. His D.C. attorney, David Benowitz, said Tuesday that Sanchez “fully denies the allegations.” He pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Friday, and has been released pending a status hearing next month, according to D.C. Superior Court records.
The police affidavit in the case indicates that Bachmann’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building had experienced two previous thefts in February and March, before the police set up their cameras. Sanchez, who was fired Friday,  had started working for Bachmann in January, after coming over from a North Carolina congressional office. Capitol Police initially indicated that Sanchez's arrest capped a probe of other thefts in Rayburn, but the charging documents allude only to the thefts in Bachmann's office.

Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Congress Crime Javier Sanchez Law Enforcement Michele Bachmann Washington