Phone store

Illinois man sentenced to jail for arson at Minneapolis cellphone store during summer 2020 civil unrest | USAO-MN

MINNEAPOLIS — An Illinois man was sentenced today to 105 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for setting fire to a cell phone store in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd.

According to court documents, on May 28, 2020, Matthew Lee Rupert, 29, a resident of Galesburg, Illinois, posted messages on his Facebook account referring to the public protests that took place in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd, including one who said, “I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow that’s all morons, I’m renting hotel rooms.” On May 29, 2020, Rupert released a Facebook Live video indicating he was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rupert announced he had come “to riot” and is pictured distributing artillery shell fireworks, encouraging violence against law enforcement, actively damaging property, penetrating breaking into buildings and looting businesses.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, the video also shows Rupert asking for lighter fluid before entering a boarded up Sprint store on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. Rupert surveyed the store and eventually entered a back room while telling the others that he had located a safe. Rupert and others then dropped several boxes in a heap on the ground. Rupert doused the pile of boxes with lighter fluid, then ordered another individual – at the time a miner – to light the pile on fire. Rupert fled the building and said, “I set it on fire!” The store suffered extensive damage from the fire.

“Matthew Rupert chose to drive over 400 miles from his home in Illinois to Minnesota to engage in violence and destruction, while broadcasting it for the world to see. A peaceful protest was not to be missed. its agenda,” said Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk. “Arson, looting, property damage and glorification thereof will not be tolerated. he must now account for his crimes.

“Today we count another violent offender as held accountable for his reckless and willful damage to our community,” said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office. “Mr. Rupert traveled to Minneapolis for the express purpose of inciting lawless behavior on our local streets. He has demonstrated no other purpose than to endanger peaceful protests by actively encouraging violence against the forces order and personally destroying community businesses.Together with our local partners, the FBI Minneapolis and ATF St. Paul continue to hold uncaring criminals like Mr. Rupert accountable for their dangerous and divisive criminal conduct in the twin cities.

“Arson is a dangerous act of violence,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Jon Ortiz, St. Paul Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). “Arson is a major threat to public safety. ATF works diligently to ensure public safety. The defendant in this case committed a reckless act of violence on unsuspecting members of this community. We are grateful that no one was seriously injured or killed as a result of this crime. This condemnation will send a message to anyone considering committing these types of violent acts that they will not be tolerated. The ATF will continue to work alongside our law enforcement partners to ensure this community remains a safe place.

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

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