A Pennsylvania man was arrested early Wednesday at the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, authorities said, after police found a Bushmaster AR-15 assault-style weapon and dozens of rounds of ammunition in his vehicle
Officers acted on a tip about 1:50 a.m. and saw the weapon in plain view in the vehicle, which the driver had given to a hotel valet, police said. A Glock 23 handgun was found in the glove box, police said, along with 30 rounds of 7.62-mm ammunition and 60 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition.
Authorities would not say what they believe prompted the man, Bryan Moles, 43, to make the drive to the District, or what they think he intended to do. Police said the tipster had provided information that Moles made threatening remarks, but D.C. Police Peter Newsham said at a Wednesday morning news conference that authorities “don’t have enough information right now to charge him with making threats.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said agents have concluded that Moles “posed no immediate threat to any Secret Service protectees.”
Moles, of Edinboro, Pa., was arrested in his room at the hotel in the 1100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, five blocks from the White House. Police said he was charged with possession of firearms without a license and illegal possession of ammunition.
Newsham said the sequence of events unfolded quickly, with both D.C. police and the Secret Service learning about the tipster’s concerns at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. The chief said the information was relayed by Pennsylvania State Police, who provided a description of Moles’s vehicle and said Moles may have been headed to the Trump Hotel.
Police informed hotel security workers, who quickly found the vehicle in the garage, Newsham said. Law enforcement searched it for any potential hazards and found the weapon. Police said Moles was arrested without incident and was interviewed.
Newsham said the tipster’s decision to contact authorities “averted a potential disaster,” adding that police have concerns anytime someone comes to the city “armed with those types of weapons.”
Ryan Tarkowski, the communications director for the Pennsylvania State Police, said his agency received information on Moles “that he was possibly in Washington, D.C. with weapons. We immediately contacted local authorities in Washington and related that information.”
Tarkowski declined to describe the information or say where it originated. He also said he doesn’t believe that Moles has a criminal record in Pennsylvania.
A person who identified herself as a relative of Moles and lives in Saegertown, Pa., about 18 miles from Edinboro, declined to comment when reached by phone. Edinboro is a town of about 6,700 people about 25 miles south of Erie.
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.