The Air Force said Wednesday that it cannot find records supporting the service claims of a man who is accused of threatening the family members of a New York congressman and a journalist.
Robert Lemke, 35, of California, identified himself on Facebook as a former Air Force captain and a retired sergeant with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, according to a criminal complaint.
However, an Air Force official said that after a thorough search the service has not been able to find records indicating Lemke served, either in the active-duty Air Force or in the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve.
“We found no record of Air Force service by an individual matching that name, and the date of birth supplied by media members,” the official told Air Force Times Wednesday.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in California likewise denied Lemke’s claim of service with them on Tuesday.
“There is very false information on social media that a Robert Lemke worked for the Alameda County Sheriff,” the office said on Twitter. “This information has proven to be untrue by the FBI and our agency.”
Lemke was arrested Tuesday and accused of sending threatening text messages to the brother and sister-in-law of a New York City congressman on Jan. 6, the day of the violent insurrection at the Capitol. The alleged texts included a photograph of a home in the brother’s neighborhood, and indicated strong opposition to the election of President Biden.
“Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words. We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him,” one text reportedly said. “We are not far from his either. Already spoke to (the Congressman’s son) and know where his kids are.”
The alleged texts to family members of the congressmen and the journalist, who were not identified by authorities, also indicated the sender and his associates were active or retired members of the military or law enforcement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.