Skip to main content

Illinois man pleads guilty to arson after traveling to Minneapolis to riot

The 28-year-old recorded himself on Facebook live causing destruction in Minneapolis last summer.
Matthew Rupert

A 28-year-old Illinois man accused of traveling to Minnesota and recording himself on Facebook Live setting fire to a cell phone store during the May 2020 riots has pleaded guilty to arson. 

Matthew Lee Rupert of Galesburg, Illinois, pleaded guilty to one count of arson this week in U.S. District Court, a news release says. He'll be sentenced at a later date. 

Rupert was charged June 1, 2020, after he shared on Facebook his plans to travel to Minneapolis. In a video he recorded of himself on May 29, 2020, he indicated he was in Minneapolis and came "to riot."

He's seen on the video encouraging violence against police, as well as actively damaging property, breaking into buildings and looting businesses. 

The video shows Rupert asking for lighter fluid before breaking into a boarded-up Sprint store in Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, the release says, citing court documents and his guilty plea.

Inside, he canvassed the store and made his way into a back room, where he told others that he'd found the safe. 

Rupert and others then knocked down boxes, sprayed the pile with lighter fluid and then a then-juvenile acting at Rupert's direction lit the pile on fire.

He then fled the building, saying "I lit it on fire." The store was damaged as a result of the fire. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 9.39.38 PM

Jordan Greenway runs into Darcy Kuemper, sparks fight

Kuemper got knocked out of the game, leading to the brawl.

Kirill Kaprizov

MacKinnon's controversial goal helps Avalanche top Wild

Kirill Kaprizov's two goals were spoiled by a questionable call.

powell itasca jail jan 2022 resize

Attorney accused of sex assault misses hearing, DMs judge

He was arrested the next day after a warrant was issued,

lorie shaull vulcan snow park st paul winter carnival 2018

Winter Carnival: Get vaccinated or test negative before coming

Organizers are also reminding people to be mindful of the city's emergency regulations.

hospital, emergency room

Driver, 15 years old, hurt when car collides with SUV

The road was wet at the time, the State Patrol said.

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.


Target headquarters

2 men plead guilty to arson at Target headquarters in Minneapolis

The two men were charged in the Aug. 26, 2020, arson that happened following false rumors about a police shooting.


Minneapolis man pleads guilty to arson that destroyed business during riots

The 32-year-old pleaded guilty Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Target headquarters

3 Minnesotans face additional charges in arson at Target headquarters

The three men were previously charged with arson in connection to the Aug. 26 fire following unrest in downtown Minneapolis.

Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 2.58.20 PM

Brainerd man sentenced to 4 years in prison for arson at Third Precinct

He's also ordered to pay $12 million in restitution.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Charge: Minneapolis arson suspect implicated through video, Facebook post

Max It Pawn on E. Lake St. was burned down during the May 28 riots.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.