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Press Release

Federal Grand Jury Returns Indictment Charging Illinois Man With Arson, Riot

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced a federal indictment charging MATTHEW LEE RUPERT, 28, with civil disorder, rioting, and arson. RUPERT, who was initially charged in a federal criminal complaint on June 1, 2020, will be arraigned before a Magistrate Judge in U.S. District Court at a later date. RUPERT has been ordered to remain in detention pending further proceedings.

According to the allegations in the indictment and documents filed in court, on May 28, 2020, RUPERT posted messages on his Facebook account referencing the public protests occurring in the Twin Cities 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, 2020, RUPERT posted a self-recorded cell phone video to his Facebook account indicating that he was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the video, RUPERT 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 fire in a building and looting businesses in Minneapolis.

According to the allegations in the indictment and documents filed in court, in the video, RUPERT stated, “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 makes these statements as he hands out an item with brown casing and a green wick to other individuals. The video also depicts RUPERT asking for lighter fluid before entering a Sprint store, followed by his statement, “I lit it on fire.” RUPERT 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.

According to the allegations in the indictment and documents filed in court, on May 30, 2020, RUPERT posted messages on his Facebook account stating that he was headed to Chicago, Illinois. Specifically, RUPERT stated, “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, 2020, RUPERT posted multiple videos to his Facebook account showing him in and around the Chicago area. RUPERT 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 RUPERT’S vehicle and recovered several explosive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight, and cash.

The FBI and ATF urge the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information specifically related to business fires in the Twin Cities can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email or submit information anonymously via In addition to fires, the FBI is looking for people who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324) or visit

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Minneapolis Field Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the FBI Chicago Field Office, the FBI Springfield Field Office, and the Chicago Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela M. Munoz and Jordan L. Sing.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Defendant Information:


Galesburg, Ill.


  • Civil disorder, 1 count
  • Organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot, 1 count
  • Arson, 1 count




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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600


Updated October 7, 2022

Violent Crime