YouTube star Jake Paul’s California home has been raided by an armed FBI swat team.
Several rifles were seen being taken out of the 23-year-old’s Calabasas mansion as part of an investigation into a looting spree at an Arizona shopping centre in May during George Floyd protests, authorities said.
The Las Vegas homes of Paul’s associates, nightclub promoter Arman Izadi and Andrew Leon, were also searched by the FBI but nobody was taken into custody and no arrest warrant has been issued for Paul, the agency said.
Paul, whose viral YouTube videos of provocative pranks has won him more than 20 million followers, was not at home when it was searched, an FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles said.
A spokesman for the FBI’s Phoenix office, where the mall is, said agents were “investigating allegations of criminal acts surrounding the incident at Scottsdale Fashion Square in May”.
Paul’s lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, acknowledged his client’s home was searched and promised to co-operate with the investigation but made no further comment.
Police in Scottsdale, Arizona, said misdemeanour charges filed in June accusing Paul, Mr Izadi and Mr Leon of criminal trespass and unlawful assembly in connection with the Fashion Square “riots” were dismissed on Wednesday to allow for the FBI investigation to go ahead.
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They added that prosecutors could refile the case if warranted.
Civil disturbances in Scottsdale on 30 May stemmed from the killing of George Floyd that week.
Stores in the area, including Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie and a Mercedes Benz dealership, were damaged during the protests, police said.
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Police said Paul took part in the unrest and was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly.
He was also accused of illegally entering the shopping centre and remaining inside after it was closed.
The YouTuber was captured on video inside the mall documenting the unrest and Scottsdale Police said it had “received hundreds of tips and videos identifying [Paul] as a participant in the riot”.
The day after, Paul said he and his “group” were part of peaceful protests and he observed looting but did not participate in it.
Last month, Paul held a party at his Calabasas home despite gatherings being prohibited due to coronavirus, prompting anger from the city’s mayor.