Illinois man charged with traveling to Minnesota to riot, possession of explosives

The 28-year-old is facing federal charges.
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Matthew Rupert

A 28-year-old man from Illinois is facing federal charges for traveling to Minnesota to riot while in possession of "unregistered destructive devices."

Matthew Rupert, 28, was charged by Minnesota's U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald, and made his first appearance in Chicago on Monday.\

Per the charges, Rupert posted on his Facebook page references to the protests happening in the Twin Cities over the death of George Floyd, one of which said: "I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow who coming only goons I’m renting hotel rooms."

On Friday, he posted a self-recorded video to his Facebook account indicating he was in Minneapolis, and 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."

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In the video, he 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 he hands out devices.

Rupert is also seen asking for lighter fluid before going into a Sprint store, saying: "I lit it on fire" shortly after, before looting a nearby Office Depot.

He then went back to Chicago and once again encouraged rioting, before he was picked up by police for breaking curfew. Officers recovered "several destructive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight, and cash."

He has been charged with one count of civil disorder, one count of organizing or participating in a riot, and one count of possession of unregistered destructive devices.

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