Feds Charge Man For Rioting In Minnesota

FBI: Defendant drove from Illinois for mayhem

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JUNE 1--An Illinois man who traveled to Minnesota for some rioting and looting--some of which he broadcast on Facebook Live--has been charged in a federal criminal complaint for his involvement in the Minneapolis mayhem.

Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, is facing felony counts for possession of explosive devices and traveling across state lines to engage in the violent activities that have engulfed the Minnesota city in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody.

In a May 28 Facebook post, Rupert announced an impending trip from his home in Galesburg, a city 45 miles from Peoria, to Minnesota. “I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow who coming only goons I’m renting hotel rooms,” wrote Rupert, according to an affidavit sworn by FBI Agent F.M. Stephens.

In subsequent Facebook videos--which were posted after Rupert arrived in Minneapolis--he “passes out explosives he indicates he possessed, encourages others to throw his explosives at law enforcement officers, actively damages property, appears to light a building on fire, and loots businesses in Minneapolis,” Stephens charged.

The affidavit states that Rupert, after noting the presence of SWAT trucks, declared, “I’ve got some bombs if some of you all want to throw them back…bomb them back.” Later Friday night, Rupert allegedly used a pry tool to break into a boarded-up liquor store, looted an Office Depot, and reported setting a fire at a Sprint store.

On Sunday, Rupert (seen above and at right) had relocated to Chicago, where he was heard on video “saying things to the effect of ‘let’s start a riot’ and ‘I’m going to start doing some damage.” In one Facebook post, Rupert declared that, “we can loot until 2:30.”

Video on his Facebook page shows Rupert entering a looted downtown Chicago business and announcing that he had spotted a cash register inside. He is then seen going into a nearby convenience store that had been broken into and stealing “what appear to be tobacco products.”

Rupert and several associates were arrested around 2:20 AM yesterday by Chicago cops for violating the city’s emergency curfew order. A search of Rupert’s car yielded “several destructive devices,” a hammer, and a heavy-duty flashlight. Rupert’s girlfriend told police that his crew had traveled to Minneapolis “in order to ‘riot,’” according to Agent Stephens.

One video on Rupert’s Facebook page--which is not referenced in the FBI affidavit--shows Rupert’s car being stopped early Saturday morning for speeding. With a patrol car’s lights flashing, Rupert and his friends--one of whom is on parole and not supposed to be outside Illinois--voice concerns that the officer will seek to search their vehicle, which contains assorted problematic items, including marijuana dabs (the possession of which amounted to a felony, Rupert noted).

But when the patrolman returned to the vehicle, he did not ask to search the car and only cited Rupert for diving 90 in a 65 mph zone.

As he drove away, Rupert told those watching him on Facebook Live, “We got lucky as fuck, bro! Real shit.” Another man in the car can be heard saying that when the cop shined a flashlight on him, “I know he had to see the jewelry,” an apparent reference to items stolen in Minneapolis. (7 pages)