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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 16, 2022

This isn’t a real CNN headline about a Florida man arrested for powering his home with a nuke

If Your Time is short

  • This story isn’t real. 

What’s your friendly "Florida Man" up to this time? According to what looks like a CNN news headline, he’s MacGyvered some home electricity from a nuclear bomb.  

"Florida man arrested for using a lost U.S. nuke to power his home for more than 27 years," the headline says. Below the headline is a booking photo of a man, and another photo showing what looks like a scuba diver next to the supposed nuke.

An Instagram post sharing a screenshot of it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

This headline isn’t on CNN’s website and we found no credible evidence of such a story anywhere, from CNN or other news outlets. Some unsourced blog posts referred to the "Florida Man" as Cesar Sayoc. 

Sayoc was supporter of former President Donald Trump who was arrested in Florida and sentenced to prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to mailing 16 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats. But a reverse image search of the booking photo that appears in the Instagram post reveals this is not Sayoc — it’s a different person with a different name.

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The Guardian ran the photo with a 2020 story about "violence in the name" of Trump. The man was arrested in Albany, New York, in 2016 and charged with misdemeanor aggravated harassment for threatening to beat a Black woman and using racial slurs against her while she waited for a taxi, the Guardian reported.

A reverse image search of the scuba diver photo led us to a 2014 story by German news broadcaster DW about bombs that were dropped on land and at sea during a 1943 British air raid of a German military site. The story describes the old munitions as explosive, but not as nuclear bombs. Plus, the air raids predated the world’s first nuclear explosion by about two years.

But the suggestion in the fake CNN headline about a Florida man powering his home with a nuclear bomb might stem from a 2015 story on the satire site World News Daily Report. 

Above the photo of the scuba diver is this fictional headline: "Georgia: Amateur divers find long-lost nuclear warhead." 

We rate claims that a Florida man was arrested for powering his home with a nuclear bomb for nearly three decades Pants on Fire!


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This isn’t a real CNN headline about a Florida man arrested for powering his home with a nuke

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