Jim Ramondetta

Jim Ramondetta, owner of Berkshire Nautilus, says the alleged actions of the unidentified man who wore a sweatshirt bearing the name of his health club are not representative of the Berkshires. 

PITTSFIELD — The January day that the nation watched an insurrection overwhelm the U.S. Capitol, Jim Ramondetta received a video on social media.

It showed one of many melees that played out Jan. 6 at the seat of the country’s legislative branch. He watched the video. To his surprise, he spotted a white-haired man wearing a sweatshirt that bore the name of the health club Ramondetta owns, Berkshire Nautilus.

“And right there, holy cow, is this guy,” Ramondetta said in his Summer Street office Thursday. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Who is he?’”

Ramondetta said the man in the video looked vaguely familiar. The footage had been relayed to him by someone who recognized the emblem and wanted the establishment to know about it.

Berkshire Nautilus had been selling sweatshirts for years. Had the man been a member? Was he still? Was the sweatshirt a souvenir from a one-time visit? Did he buy it secondhand?

Those were a few of the scenarios that ricocheted around Ramondetta’s head. One thing was clear, however: Federal law enforcement was asking for tips about those involved in what the government would call the “Capitol Attack,” when supporters of former President Donald Trump attempted and failed to stop certification of the Electoral College results.

The logo for Berkshire Nautilus, shown in stickers on the right, is visible on the sweatshirt of a suspect in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

Ramondetta reported the discovery through the FBI’s tip line and sent the agency a link to the footage. Months passed with no follow-up, until about April, when Ramondetta said an FBI agent paid a visit to the gym, unannounced.

It was then, three months after the Capitol crisis, that Ramondetta told the agent what little he could about a man who had purchased sweatshirts from Berkshire Nautilus in the past — and who seemed to resemble the suspect in the video from the U.S. Capitol. He shared a name as well.

“It was a shot in the dark, but you know, that was the only possibility, right? And he took down all the information,” said Ramondetta.

After assuring Ramondetta that federal law enforcement would do everything they could to identify the man, the agent left. “He said, ‘We’re working very hard in this ... but we haven’t located this person, and any other details you can provide would help.’ That was what the meeting was. Then about two days ago, I got a call from the same FBI agent,” said Ramondetta.

Earlier this week, the same agent called to say that their investigation months had failed to yield a suspect. In a last attempt to locate the man, the agency would be going public and notifying the media to ask for help identifying the man in the Berkshire Nautilus sweatshirt.

On Wednesday, the FBI Boston Division released images of the man at the Capitol, many of them showing him wearing the Berkshire Nautilus sweatshirt, and some displaying him with an apparently bloodied head. Authorities say the man allegedly assaulted federal officers at the U.S. Capitol Jan 6.

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, a special agent with Boston’s FBI office, asked the public to study the photos.

“Reach out to us if you know who this man is,” he said. “We believe he was involved in a violent assault on federal officers and no amount of information is too small or irrelevant.”

Ramondetta said he wants the public to know that the unidentified man’s actions were unacceptable to Berkshire Nautilus’ members and ownership.

“I don’t want this to be considered a representation of Berkshire Nautilus, or the Berkshires in general,” he said. “It’s a sad story, it’s a sad story for the country, but this person isn’t representative of what we have here in the Berkshires.”

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.