Federal officials say they’ve arrested a Galesburg, Illinois, man whom they say traveled from his home to both Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Chicago, Illinois, to hand out explosives and incite riots.
Matthew Rupert was arrested by the Chicago Police Department on Sunday after breaking the city’s curfew. and when police searched his car, they found evidence of explosives and other incendiary devices. An eventual search of his Facebook page yielded a number of videos, which Rupert had set to “public,” showing Rupert encouraging rioters to burn buildings and attack police officers, according to CBS News Chicago.
Rupert was charged “with civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices, according to a federal complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota,” WTTW Chicago reported Monday. The complaint says that Rupert “posted a message on Facebook last week saying that he was intending to travel to the Twin Cities to take part in the protests following the police killing of George Floyd. He indicated he was looking for ‘goons’ to join him and was booking hotel rooms.”
On Friday, the complaint says, Rupert posted a “two-hour Facebook live” video in which he showed himself handing out explosive devices to other protesters in Minneapolis and directing them to throw the devices at cops trying to keep the peace.
“They got SWAT trucks up there. I’ve got some bombs if some of you all want to throw them back…bomb them back,” Rupert says on the video, per the complaint. “Light that b***h and throw it at them.”
He then congratulates another rioter for a direct hit: “He’s throwing my bombs,” Rupert allegedly says. “Good shot my boy.”
Officials say Rupert is responsible for firebombing at least one Sprint store and looting an Office Depot.
After he was finished in Minneapolis, Rupert allegedly hit Chicago on his way back to his Galesburg home.
“On Saturday, Rupert posted on Facebook that he was traveling to Chicago to ‘loot until 2:30,’ according to the complaint. Early Sunday morning, he posted more videos showing him in Chicago, saying, ‘Let’s start a riot’ and ‘I am going to do some damage,’” per CBS.
The complaint then alleges that Rupert was “seen on video” in downtown Chicago around midnight looting a local convenience store. He was eventually arrested around 2 am “for violating Chicago’s emergency curfew order. Law enforcement officers searched Rupert’s vehicle and recovered several destructive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight, and cash.”
Rupert was arraigned on Monday in Chicago and ordered back to Minneapolis.
Several city officials in both Chicago and Minneapolis have alleged that out-of-state rabble-rousers are undermining peaceful protests calling attention to the death of George Floyd by encouraging looting and rioting.
On Sunday, Minneapolis officials admitted that outside groups had likely been supplying rioters in the city with explosives and other incendiary devices. Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, said, over the weekend, that Chicago had alerted Federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, of problem groups operating within the city.
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