(WXYZ) — For 6 months, we’ve been watching the number of criminal cases grow from the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6.
- It's been 6 months since the U.S. Capitol riots; here's who was arrested from Michigan
- Novi man is the 11th from Michigan charged in U.S. Capitol riots
- PHOTOS: Trump supporters storm Capitol as Congress meets to confirm Biden's win
More than 500 people have been charged across the U.S. for participating, and they face up to 10 years in prison. Eleven people have been charged so far from Michigan with most of them from metro Detroit, including St. Clair Shores, Roseville, Taylor, Brownstown Township, Novi, Wixom, Troy, Shelby Township and Chesterfield Township.
Federal court documents show this investigation is now moving into a new phase with deeper investigations and confidential informants, including family members.
If people who were involved think that since they haven’t been caught and charged, they’ve gotten away with this. Think again.
The feds so far have charged the low hanging fruit.
The cases made with social media posts, cell phone videos, made by the people themselves at the Capitol.
"Their stupidity usually aids law enforcement bringing them to justice," said Andy Arena, former FBI Special Agent in Charge in Detroit.
Take the most recent case of 29-year old Trevor Brown of Novi. You could say he handed the feds his case with his own social media posts, calling the U.S. Capitol a "brothel," and members of Congress "whores."
And a post that says, "today these elitist creeps are getting the same thing we live with everyday, fear for their own safety."
The evidence, outlined in court documents, hard to defend.
"It’s usually your own words, right? You can’t cross examine your own words," said Arena.
The massive case is far from over. It is a top priority for the feds in Washington DC, and it started when Matthew Schnieder was still U.S. Attorney in Detroit.
"Very rarely does any U.S. Attorney’s Office reach out to other people in different parts of the country and say, 'can you please help us?,' said Schnieder.
That will be thousands of cases to come and take months if not years.
"Somebody once said to me ... ' You know, the FBI moves like a glacier. And I was like, 'yeah, but a glacier crushes everything in front of it,'" said Arena.
Last week, 50-year old Steven Thurlow of St. Clair Shores was arrested. He posted pictures during the riot in the halls of Congress.
The feds said in court documents Thurlow did 3 years in the Army 1988 to 91.
His posts include him all decked out with an assault rifle, and a patch that says "boogaloo," a term used for a violent uprising or impending civil war.
Get this: the feds say they had three confidential informants in Thurlow’s case. One is a family member.
At one point, he changed his Facebook name to Stephanie, not his wife and he has no daughters. The feds say, changes, deleting doesn’t cover your digital footprints.
What can work, is flipping, cooperating.
"The only way they’re going to get out of this or get some sympathy from the court is to assist," said Arena. "Some have been remorseful, some have not."
No one answered the door at Thurlow's house. After he was arrested, he was released, to turn himself over in Washington.
"They’re just nice people. I was really shocked," said neighbor Doug Duby.
"The mission in this case is to charge every person possible," said Schneider.
The former U.S. attorney points out they have not caught the man who planted pipe bombs at the Republican and Democratic headquarters in Washington.
They are far from done.