GALESBURG, Ill. (WMBD) — A Galesburg man was taken into custody on multiple charges after traveling to Minneapolis and Chicago to riot and for allegedly possessing explosive devises, the Department of Justice said Monday.
The DoJ said a federal criminal complaint was filed against 28-year-old Matthew Lee Rupert in Chicago. He was charged with civil disorder, carrying on a riot, and possession of unregistered destructive devices.
According to the allegations in the complaint, on May 28, Rupert posted on his Facebook referencing the public protests occurring in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, including one that stated, “I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow who coming only goons I’m renting hotel rooms.”
On May 29, he posted a self-recorded cell phone video to his Facebook account indicating that he was in Minneapolis. In the video, the DoJ said he can be seen passing out explosive devices he possessed, encouraging others to throw his explosives at law enforcement officers, actively damaging property, appearing to light a building on fire and looting businesses in Minneapolis.
According to the allegations in the complaint, he can be heard saying “They got SWAT trucks up there […] I’ve got some bombs if some of you all want to throw them back […] bomb them back […] here I got some more […] light it and throw it.”
Rupert allegedly makes these statements as he hands out an item with brown casing and a green wick to other individuals. The video also depicts the man asking for lighter fluid before entering a Sprint store, followed by his statement, “I lit it on fire.” He then goes to a nearby Office Depot and states, “I’m going in to get [expletive].” Rupert can be seen taking items from the store.
He then traveled to Chicago, which was also documented on Facebook.
According to the allegations in the complaint, on May 30, he posted “comr [sic] with bro Chicago let’s go” and “We will be back bro we can loot til 2:30.” In the early morning hours of May 31, Rupert posted multiple videos to his Facebook showing him in and around the Chicago area; he can be heard saying “let’s start a riot” and “I’m going to start doing some damage.”
At approximately 2:21 a.m., Chicago police officers arrested Rupert and his associates for violating the City of Chicago’s emergency curfew order. Law enforcement officers searched the Galesburg man’s vehicle and recovered several destructive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight, and cash.
The DoJ said the case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Minneapolis Field Office, with assistance from the FBI Chicago Field Office, and the Chicago Police Department.
The FBI is urging the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the otherwise peaceful protests of the last week. Anyone with information can call the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324).