As many of the 2020 riot federal cases have come to a close, one case flew heavily under the radar, with no news outlets covering it. Sam Resto, a New York City anarchist and BLM supporter was arrested on August 13th 2020 for the arson of a NYPD police vehicle. The case on the surface wasn't that unusual from a laundry list of other BLM/Antifa arson cases such as the NYC Corey Smith and Elaine Carberry case, however the case was for more extreme in its plotting for terrorism, despite this Sam Resto escaped a terrorism enhancement and recieved only 26 months (time served) in prison.
The documented criminal behavior from Sam Resto starts with lower level vandalism during the 2020 Summer George Floyd riots. At some point during the summer an affinity group of extremists that Resto associated with was infiltrated by NYPD. The group had at least 2 NYPD officers infiltrate them, with 3 others besides Resto being referred to as uncharged co-conspirators.
Sam Resto's first known act was vandalizing the George Washington Statue on the Washington Square Park Arch with red paint. The 'red paint' style vandalism was a frequently done as a way of representing "blood on your hands" style messaging.
Following this his desire for illegal actions grew, going to a "Occupy City Hall" demonstration. The Occupy City Hall was NYC BLM/Antifa's attempt at 'Autonomous Zone' style area modeled after the CHAZ/CHOP, and was even given the name “City Hall Autonomous Zone”. The zone didn't grow or have the police capitulate like Seattle so it didn't last long.
In NYC to cover the Occupy City Hall protest for @townhallcom and people have set up a “No Pig Zone.” They are calling for the city to defund and/or abolish the NYPD.— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 30, 2020
A sign says this is the “City Hall Autonomous Zone.” pic.twitter.com/NtMXPlR2LW
Resto came to the City Hall zone with a plan to destroy a Christopher Columbus statue in a "high risk direct action" that would include him using lasers and paintball guns to shoot out cameras. He also expressed in interest in using smoke bombs, thermite, and propane torches or the direct action. However during his scouting of the Central Park and the Christopher Columbus statue he found the NYPD protecting the statue, a frequent target of Antifa/BLM. This discouraged Resto from the plot, and he started plotting arson attacks targeting the park itself, the police, and police vehicles.
Following the Christopher Columbus statue failure, Resto made his first move toward arson. Buying a gas can at a July 12 Bay Ridge protest. However after pouring the gas into bottles to attack an unguarded NYPD vehicle, uniformed police arrived prohibiting this. Resto set a trash can on fire later in the demonstration as a consolation.
Several days later on the 15th Resto was involved in a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge that turned violent. The protest turned violent riot left multiple NYPD officers bloody and got a significant amount of media coverage. Resto was arrested at the demonstration and after being released wanted to set fire to a police car in retaliation.
Three officers violently attacked by protesters crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. The officers sustained serious injuries.— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 15, 2020
This is not peaceful protest, this will not be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/cYuDX8G7ku
Two days after the arrest Resto spray painted a police van with “don’t start this car” and “kaboom” with an Anarchist 'A' in an apparent bomb threat. The acts and plotting escalated with plans for caltrops, shooting at federal officers, and sharing guides for making explosives as part of his direct action.
On the night of July 28th Sam Resto took the leap from violent plots and vandalism to arson. He purchased a gasoline and brought it to a protest near Gracie Mansion. He split the gasoline into smaller bottles and distributed them to several others. Resto identified a NYPD car to target, and despite 3 people telling him it was a bad idea, carried out the attack.
Resto was ecastic about his firebombing, describing himself as "an expert pyromaniac" and that he was "ready for round two". The firebombing left the vehicle a complete loss.
While police were aware of Resto, having infiltrated the affinity group, they were investigating the larger group with him and did not make an arrest that night. Following the firebombing Resto abandoned his backpack in central park. In the bag they found a Guy Fawkes mask, a hammer, lighters, and a gas can covered in his fingerprints.
Resto started to express concerns over being caught due to fingerprints being on the gas can. He plotted moving apartments and thought for someone to take tools including a crossbow and paintball gun he had purchased for other plots. In all of this concern, he never showed any remorse stating again that he wanted people to know the arson attack was "the movement fucking them up".
On August 13th Resto was arrested at his place of employment, where he was located hiding under his desk. He sent out a quick text to his affinity group saying "cops at my job everybody run". Resto appeared very ready to run, having his passport in his bag. Police further found he had spray painted "too late" on his apartment wall.
Resto was charged federally with arson, conspiracy, and civil disorder charges. He was denied bail on account of his danger to the community and clear risk of flight.
Later in his spree of arson and crime Resto started plotting at a more organized structure to carry out acts. He shared this plan with members of his affinity group. The organization would be modeled after ISIS to have a media, finance, propaganda, and intelligence wing with cell groups across all five boroughs on NYC.
Each of the 5 cells groups would leader, safe houses, and carry out different 'direct actions' including arson attacks, statue pullovers, and Minneapolis style "precinct takeovers". The planned initiation process for those involved would be to do what Resto had done, firebomb a police car.
The planned organization had significant time and thought put into it. Resto even took the time to put together network diagrams of organizational structure. Listing out other planned organization rules such as using burner phones, not using real names, and not doing jail support because "revolution requires sacrifices"
Sam Resto eventually pled guilty on June 24th 2022. On November 4th 2022 he was sentenced. Despite the extreme nature of his offenses, the Government (Eastern District of NY USAO) wanted only 48-72 months, while Resto wanted time served which was roughly 26 months at that point.
The judgment for that sentencing is not public currently. He's not in the BOP lookup, meaning that the sentence he was asking for (time served) appears to have been granted. In addition to this the Eastern District of New York USAO didn't put out any press releases on the case apart from the initial arrest release. No local/national news outlets covered it either.
About a week after we posted about this in a Twitter thread about a judgment was finally filed. We can 100% confirm now he got time served (26 months). He will also do 3 years probation and pay 14k in restitution. There's no indication on why it took 3 months to file a judgment. Typically this done the same day as sentencing, with an occasional 2-3 day delay in some districts.