Traci Sunstrum Busted by Google Location Data in Capitol Siege
Skip to main content
Watch Our Live Network Now

New York Woman Seen Wearing ‘Stars-and-Stripes Pants’ on Jan. 6 Busted by Google Location Data, Feds Say

Woman identified as Traci Sunstrum pictured inside the Capitol

The Department of Justice said Wednesday that a New York woman was identified, arrested and charged for her actions on Jan. 6 thanks to Google location data that was obtained pursuant to a search warrant. Traci J. Sunstrum is the woman who was photographed holding up a cell phone and wearing “a green jacket and stars-and-stripes pants,” the FBI statement of facts in Sunstrum’s case says.

Sunstrum, 44, first landed on the feds’ radar on Jan. 12. The FBI said it received an anonymous tip that Sunstrum “was observed on a Facebook Live steam (sic) from inside the U.S. Capitol building.” The government said it obtained a search warrant and served it on Google, which yielded location data that confirmed that a device associated with an Google account belonging to the suspect was inside the Capitol at the time a pro-Trump mob stormed the premises.

According to records obtained through a search warrant, which was served on Google, a mobile device associated with the Google account [email protected] was present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Google estimates device location using sources, including GPS data and information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons. This location data varies in its accuracy, depending on the source(s) of the data. As a result, Google assigns a “maps display radius” for each location data point. Thus, where Google estimates that its location data is accurate to within 10 meters, Google assigns a “maps display radius” of 10 meters to the location data point. Finally, Google reports that its “maps display radius” reflects the actual location of the covered device approximately 68% of the time. In this case, Google location data shows that a device associated with the Google account [email protected] was within the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 between the hours of 2:26 p.m. through 2:48 p.m. EST.

The FBI cited several other photographs of the suspect, noting that the same recognizable “stars-and-stripes” pants appeared in each. The FBI further referenced an image of the suspect that appeared in a National Law Journal article.

“Finally, your affiant reviewed a photo of a person whom I believe to be SUNSTRUM, which was posted on The National Law Journal (www.law.com) under the heading ‘Inciting a Riot: Legal Community Erupts in Calls for Trump’s Removal as Mob Storms Capitol.’ I believe this photo (Photo 7), which was taken inside the U.S. Capitol on January6, 2021, shows SUNSTRUM inside the U.S. Capitol,” documents said.

Sunstrum, reportedly from Amherst, New York (near Buffalo), was arrested on Wednesday in her home state. Federal records show that a person with the same name from Amherst filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Dec. 2012. That case was closed in April 2013. A LinkedIn page for a Traci Sunstrum from the Buffalo area says she is a self-employed insurance and reinsurance broker.

The DOJ said that Sunstrum faces charges for Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; and Parading, Demonstrating or Picketing in a Capitol Building. It’s unclear if she has an attorney of record.

[Image via FBI]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Matt Naham is the editor-in-chief of Law&Crime.