CHICAGO (CBS) — Matthew Lee Rupert was arrested in Chicago Sunday after he traveled to Minneapolis last week with several explosive devices, which, federal agents say, he passed out to other protesters there. Police say he had returned from Minnesota over the weekend and was planning to participate in civil unrest in Chicago.
On Friday, Rupert, of Galesburg, posted a cell phone video on his Facebook account that indicated he was in Minneapolis. In the video, he is passing out explosive devices, encouraging protesters to throw them at law enforcement. He is also seen damaging property, lighting a building on fire and looting businesses, according to a federal complaint announced on Monday.
Rupert, 28, is charged with civil disorder, carrying on a riot, and possession of unregistered destructive devices.
According to the complaint, in one video Rupert said: “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.”
As Rupert is speaking, he is handing out an item with brown casing and a green wick to other individuals. The video also shows Rupert asking for lighter fluid before entering a Sprint store, and allegedly lighting it on fire. He then allegedly looted a nearby Office Depot, according to the complaint.
On Saturday, Rupert posted on Facebook that he was traveling to Chicago to “loot ’til 2:30,” according to the complaint. Early Sunday morning, he posted more video showing him in Chicago, saying, “Let’s start a riot” and “I am going to do some damage.” He is seen on video in the vicinity of Dearborn and Van Buren streets around 12:21 a.m. At one point, he goes into a looted convenience store near South Plymouth Court and Ida B. Wells Drive and stuffs merchandise into his backpack, according to the complaint.
Rupert was arrested at 2:21 a.m. on Sunday 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.
We listened to much of the audio on the Rupert Facebook Live feeds. We heard lots about stealing, destroying, and burning things, but we didn’t hear anything about George Floyd or concerns about injustice.
If you have video that could help the FBI catch looters or vandals, you can share it at this link.
Demonstrators have taken to the streets across the country to protest the police involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Many protests have turned violent, including those in Chicago this past weekend.