Crime

At strip club where alleged bomber was the bouncer, dancers say he aspired to be DJ

This is Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man suspected of sending pipe bombs

Cesar Sayoc, an Aventura man arrested in connection with the mail pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump, is a businessman with a long criminal history in Florida.
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Cesar Sayoc, an Aventura man arrested in connection with the mail pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump, is a businessman with a long criminal history in Florida.

On the night before he was arrested for sending out pipe bombs to two former presidents and a slew of important Democratic Party figures, Cesar Sayoc worked an uneventful shift at a strip club in West Palm Beach.

The 56-year-old Sayoc was part of the muscle crew at the Ultra Gentleman’s Club, a full-nude strip club on Congress Avenue.

It was a typical night at Ultra — women gyrating on a center stage inside a smoky, dingy room for modest tips. Sayoc was neither sweaty nor twitchy, and gave no sign of his alleged bomb-making activities or the nationwide furor it had stirred up.

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Cesar Sayoc worked at the Ultra Gentlemen’s Club the night before his arrest. Sarah Blaskey sblaskey@MiamiHerald.com

Staff and customers said Sayoc was a pretty normal guy, albeit with a decidedly odd van, bedecked with pro-Donald Trump images and photos of the president’s critics with cross-hair targets superimposed over their faces. It was the same van that was towed away after Sayoc was arrested by federal authorities at the AutoZone Friday morning, just hours after his last shift.

At Ultra, those who know him and would talk were not aware he slept in the van, which allegedly doubled as his bomb-making laboratory.

They were not aware of his lengthy rap sheet, for an assortment of crimes, including once threatening to blow up the electrical utility Florida Power & Light in a dispute over the size of a bill. In the wake of his arrest, South Florida police departments produced a variety of mug shots, displaying a variety of hair cuts, but the same blank stare.

“He wasn’t gross or anything,” said one dancer, who added she wasn’t allowed to be quoted by name. “I guess he showered at the gym. He went to the gym a lot.”

Though many knew him as someone who had “been on the scene” for decades, Sayoc had worked at Ultra for only a few months. No one could say exactly how many months.

There is no indication whether Sayoc’s tenure overlapped with a performance by Stormy Daniels, who has toured strip clubs, including Ultra, in the wake of her high-profile allegation that she had a brief affair with President Trump and was paid to remain silent.

Sayoc was primarily a “floorman,” a roaming bouncer tasked with keeping the dancers safe. No one remembered him actually bouncing anyone.

He was beefy, they attested. And one woman said he would walk her to her car in the parking lot at night so she would feel safe.

“He was just one of the guys,” a performer said Thursday night between gyrations on the stage. “It’s crazy.”

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