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Rumors and looters

Tuesday, Jun 2, 2020

* This was a very big rumor over the weekend

“I said, ‘I heard on the scanners that we have hundreds of people, caravans, driving in from Indiana and other places to come and terrorize our city,’” [Ald. Ray Lopez, 15th] said.

“She rebuffed that. … She said, ‘I’m dealing with issues. That’s an unsubstantiated rumor. You can chase that if you want, Ray.’”

Lopez wasn’t the only alderman spreading that rumor. But we have so far seen zero evidence of that actually happening. Crazy rumors circulate during crises. Responsible leaders refrain from spreading them. And just because you hear somebody say something on a police radio doesn’t mean it’s true.

* And then there’s this lone clown

A man from downstate Galesburg who allegedly appears on video rioting, looting and urging attacks against the police has been hit with what appears to be the first federal criminal charge related to the violence this weekend in Chicago.

Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, has been charged in an eight-page criminal complaint in federal court in Minnesota with civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices. The complaint alleges Rupert participated in looting and rioting in Minneapolis in response to the police killing of George Floyd before moving on to Chicago.

He was posting Facebook videos as he was committing crimes. Not the brightest porch light on the block. From his now disabled Facebook page…

* Anyway, Sheriff Tom Dart wasn’t sure what and who were behind the looting and violence

But they were less certain who was behind what Dart described as an effort to “utilize … the peaceful protesters for their own criminal acts.” […]

“There’s definitely organization [to the looting] but as far as the overarching organization, that’s being looked at,” the sheriff said.

Civil unrest is often accompanied by looting. But to some, Sunday’s looting looked somehow organized.

* I thought ISP Director Brendan Kelly had some interesting things to say yesterday

We’ve seen looting, we’ve seen thefts we’ve seen criminal damage and we’ve seen arsons throughout the state. And again, there’s not one particular location or one particular community in which this is entirely focused on. Sometimes, we are very quick to say there’s a hotspot here or a hotspot there.

But frankly, the information that we’ve been receiving and how this process has evolved over the past 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, has been that we have seen a number of individuals who are between the ages of 17 to 25, young people, communicating with one another on social media, targeting a particular business, particular retail, saying ‘let’s meet at this location at this time.’ And once they reach a critical mass of people they find a way to break the windows, either using rocks or a hammer or picking up trash can or more locations with a bicycle breaking those windows, going into the business then taking as much property as they can. In some cases, there’s some indication that maybe they’ve attempted to set fires in some locations. […]

We are in close communication with our federal partners at all times. The information we have consistently received from them and that we’ve been providing to them, is it does not appear to be yet, any indication of an organized structured group that is driving a critical mass of these incidents.

In large part, these are, as described at that particular age group of people, seeing a pattern and practice that they’re modeling after what they’ve seen on social media. There are people who are traveling around different communities. They’re maybe not from that community, they come from different parts of the state. They are driving in their vehicles, sometimes hanging outside their vehicles, waving signs, making gestures. We’ve seen people with bats and other types of items that are potential weapons, driving around and voicing their opinion with regards to law enforcement. But then some of these individuals committing the type of acts that we’ve been that we’re describing here that have resulted in looting, have resulted in criminal damage to property, theft and the type of activity we’ve seen play out and Champaign, Aurora and other locations.

So, at least some of them organized themselves on social media (Facebook groups are a good bet) and met up physically and waited until their numbers reached a “critical mass” and then acted. Safety in numbers, so to speak.

* The Walmart on 83rd St. in Chicago was hit by dozens of looters on Sunday. A buddy of mine was there when the looters suddenly swarmed in. I asked how many people he saw…

Swamped. 4-6 people in each car. Just pulling into the parking lot. Running in then running out.

* Some police forces observed the behavior and learned what to expect. Monday night in Bloomington

Police used different tactics on the second night of unrest. On the first night, officers concentrated forces at the entrances to stores such as Best Buy and Target. During the second iteration of the challenge from the looters, police leadership spread out units to block entry to parking lots and prevent the vandals from concentrating in swarms of vehicles.

* On the other side of town later that night…

Looked like a smorgasbord.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    Last night, the plainfield police department put up a vague post of people driving around in U-Hauls that could be looting and rioting in town. The implication was that there were multiple rented trucks in the vicinity and the threat was immenent.

    Except this came from a police communication that had much more detail, and was specific to discussions between the county and Orland Park, of a single truck at an intersection with people coming out of it at a gas station. That was over 20 miles from plainfield, and the information they had from the county(and posted by other nearby departments in its full amount of detail) never once mentioned plainfield.

    What the plainfield police posted, removed the specific details and made the it seem like there was a widespread local issue.

    Of course, within minutes everybody in plainfield with already heightened anxiety started spreading that rumor on facebook and people were responding that they will shoot anyone on sight matching that description.

    Some police departments are handling these events professionally.

    The government of Plainfield was throwing gas on the fire last night.

  2. - Radio - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    Something needs to be done about rogue radio on police/emergency channels. This was too common on Saturday. There was an (suspected ex cop) who was pushing “Use of Deadly Force Authorized” on the channel a few times. Then there was the Indiana rumor. At one point someone was just blasting Chocolate Rain. This sort of disinformation and obstruction endangers the public and needs to be addressed.

  3. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:16 am:

    Part of this is what does it mean to be organized. I think many people hear that word and assume there is some person or group that is directing it when it is small pockets of people organizing and engaging in similar behavior.

  4. - Carla - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    The big rumor is that “professionals” stole UHaul and other moving trucks, drove them to a looting site, filled them with loot, and took off even before “amateurs” and law enforcement arrived. It will be interesting to know if this has any basis in fact and, if it does, when did everyone become aware of the situation?

  5. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    My partner was listening to the police scanner yesterday. Multiple stops of u-hauls, in all the cases I was paying attention to, the u-haul was being used by a mover or belonged to a u-haul business that was using it for some purpose or other. Sometimes a u-haul is just a u-haul.

  6. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    When the highest law enforcement officer in the country has absolutely no respect for the law, this is what happens. It is trickle down criminal behavior and disrespect all around.

  7. - Graduated College Student - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    “Try being white in Knox County.”


  8. - West Side the Best Side - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:19 am: has some of the Facebook postings of the Galesburg clown. What a maroon.

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:20 am:

    ===assume there is some person or group that is directing it===

    Correct. People can organize themselves pretty easily these days.

  10. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    =The government of Plainfield was throwing gas on the fire last night. =

    No surprise, considering the way they have reacted to the pandemic.

  11. - Stu - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:27 am:

    ===And then there’s this lone clown…===

    Nice photo…

  12. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:28 am:

    First of the month yesterday too, so people moving into and out of apartments are usually around the first and last days of a month….just incredible timing.

  13. - BC - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    == Crazy rumors circulate during crises. ==

    Has always been true. Unfortunately, social media makes it a hundred times worse. The amount of b.s. that has been spread on facebook and twitter the last few days is absolutely flabbergasting. I usually laugh off the social media nonsense, but it’s amazing how many people believe this nonsense. At times like this it is dangerous.

  14. - Bob Loblaw - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    Yep, take St Louis yesterday as example. The “Expect Us” rally was peaceful and had a couple thousand participants. Several hours later, several dozen people, some of whom were at the protests started “organizing” looting, but doing so pretty spontaneously. They looted one spot twice after waiting for the police to leave. Yet KSDK runs an article that the Expect Us rally turned violent.

  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    === I usually laugh off the social media nonsense===

    The problem now is that a suburban police department was the one spreading these rumors on facebook.

    That’s a problem, and it needs to be dealt with.

  16. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    ” It will be interesting to know if this has any basis in fact”

    It all began around 3:20 a.m. when police saw suspected looters inside Walgreens, 641 North Clark, in River North. Police arrested two people at the scene, but the others fled. Some got into the U-Haul

  17. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    It’s ridiculous the amount of social media hysteria going on. One lady posted on twitter that our local Home Depot was being “ransacked” when no such thing was occurring. When questioned, she admitted she lived somewhere like Arizona and said a relative told her it was happening. Moral of the story - if you don’t actually see it with your own eyes, receive an official government communication, or see it in a (reputable) news report, don’t spread it.

  18. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    ===receive an official government communication===

    See the first post in this thread.

  19. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    and yesterday morning tons of people were under the belief that a monkey was taken from the Lincoln Park zoo, or other animals were released out of the zoo. People post photos of animals on Twitter and then write something false to see if other people will believe it. I mean, Rich posted the article yesterday about JB being in WI when that was false. Tough to believe what you see on Twitter.

  20. - Been There - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 11:59 am:

    ===Swamped. 4-6 people in each car. Just pulling into the parking lot. Running in then running out. ====

    I’m could see how the stories of people coming in from out of state get started. All it would take is one of the cars that pulled up at that Walmart to have an Indiana plate. Not uncommon to see in Chicago. I have plenty of friends and relatives that live in NW Indiana. And it is not like the Chicago gangs shut down once they hit the state border.

  21. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:01 pm:


    June 1 is typically one of the busiest days for U-Haul since so many leases expire then. Not saying looters weren’t using them, but if police were targeting U-Hauls over the weekend, I bet they stopped a lot of people who were just moving into a new place.

    FB was awash in rumors that they rioters were coming to the “white neighborhoods.” Lots of people freaked out over some fool’s idea of a joke.

  22. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    The cops who ended George Floyd’s life couldn’t care less about the consequences and repercussions of what they did.

  23. - Joe Bidenopolous - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    Judging by the view in that picture, it’s Milwaukee Avenue shown are the North Avenue intersection - the triangle building is the Flatiron building. But the comment is still accurate - all the places on both streets were hit. Milwaukee has more of the high-end stores than North though.

  24. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    Two problems are occurring with social media. the old telephone game where the message gets passed and details get changed or lost.

    the other is someone sees a post, then decides to try it in their town. Not new, just new to riots.

    At this point, what is a credible threat? One post, 2, 10? No easy outs for law enforcement these days.

  25. - Original Rambler - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:13 pm:

    Our local liquor store in a small strip mall is owned by a couple of Indians. (Teetotalers owning a liquor store - go figure.) Anyway, they rented a U-Haul van yesterday and late afternoon were busy loading their inventory into the van because of the rumors that troublemakers were headed to our NW Chicago neighborhood. A couple of dark skinned guys loading booze into a U-Haul van. Didn’t take long before the neighborhood blew up with rumors that the liquor store was being looted.

    Every neighborhood rumor we heard turned out to be BS. Social media is the worst in times like this.

  26. - Vote Quimby - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:29 pm:

    ==Facebook groups are a good bet==
    As the parent of a 17 and 20 year old, I know there are much more efficient and anonymous methods for young people to communicate.

  27. - Logical Thinker - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    Remind me of the violence at the protests so many here criticized for the last month when people just wanted to reopen their businesses.

  28. - Sorry Sorry State - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    And what exactly is Pritzker doing to stop this?

  29. - Sorry Sorry State - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    And Logical, please don’t counter the left’s narrative with the truth

  30. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    === Remind me of the violence at the protests so many here criticized for the last month when people just wanted to reopen their businesses.===

    Ask the legislators who welcomed that.

    Why aren’t the Hateful Eight supporting these protests?

    Isn’t this “tyranny”?

    See how ridiculous you sound? Argue like an adult.

  31. - tea_and_honey - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    I live in a small town (pop. 5000) in central Illinois. My neighbor knocked on the door yesterday afternoon to “make sure I knew the Chicago gangs were targeting our town for looting that night.”

    *sigh* Sure Karen, the “gangs” are going to drive two hours to loot our specific Subway and Caseys.

    People will believe anything these days.

  32. - Sorry Sorry State - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:50 pm:

    Willy go back to your bubble. Pritzker has no plan to stop this.

  33. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    Willy railed against churches wanting to reopen because of the virus but has no problem with the thousands protesting that will spread the virus. Stop being hypocritical

  34. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    “Pritzker has no plan to stop this.”

    And you only have plans to make it worse.

  35. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    It would be great to have local TV reporting again. CLTV (channel 10) used to be on almost 24/7 and I could turn it on just about any time to see what’s actually happening in the city.
    The price we pay for media consolidation.

  36. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:01 pm:

    SS State,

    You’ve added nothing to the conversation but sub-Facebook quality drive-by comments.

    – MrJM

  37. - Irma Gerd - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    ==== I live in a small town (pop. 5000) in central Illinois. My neighbor knocked on the door yesterday… ====

    The exact thing happened to me - we must both live slightly north of Spfld. “Karen” was very shaken and firmly believed the rioters were coming our way. Not an ounce of truth.

  38. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    === railed against churches wanting to reopen because of the virus but has no problem with the thousands protesting that will spread the virus. Stop being hypocritical===

    Narrator: the courts agreed with the legal order.

    If *you* want to socially distance the protesters, have at it, lol

    === go back to your bubble. Pritzker has no plan to stop this.===

    LOL, which Governor has one?

    I know, just have a mask on when mouth breathing, we’re still in a pandemic.


  39. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    “And what exactly is Pritzker doing to stop this?”

    He is, being reactive and timid, his decision to call up only 375 Illinois National Guard troops late last week, and then another 250 shows a lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation. California called up over 3,000 troops, MN called up 1,700. I’m sure the shop owners that were looted on Sunday/Monday would have welcomed more troops.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:21 pm:

    === He is, being reactive and timid===


    The President hid in “the bunker” under the White House… they turned off the lights at the White House too.


    Wants a military response… after hiding… in a bunker… under the White House.

    The responses by the elected officials need addressing, but a tad bit of perspective when the nation’s leader tear gassed protesters to hold up a Bible in front of a church because his cowardice was called.

  41. - Emily Booth - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    It was a hippo, a Nile hippo, in a photo being circulated on twitter that the poster claimed was Lincoln Park Zoo. LPZ does not have a Nile hippo. LPZ is gated, has FT security and overnight keepers. Many of the animals sleep off-exhibit which means breaking into buildings with a double set of doors, breaking thru a secure interior door and then breaking thru caging. It’s not going to happen.

    The rioters used the protests as a mask for looting. They targeted liquor and drugs. Quick in and out. Opportunists.

  42. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    you can listen to the action in real time on a police scanner on line. clearly more is happening than on your average night. cell phone store after cell phone store hit, liquor stores, pharmacies. and not just on the South and West sides. it’s a time for opportunists to figure the police can’t get everyone, which is true, as they sometimes stop chasing because they need to get back to shots fired, domestics, and more.

  43. - Fly like an eagle - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    == Remind me of the violence at the protests so many here criticized for the last month when people just wanted to reopen their businesses.==
    No doubt they are the same people.

  44. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    What people need to understand is it only takes a few Matthew Lee Ruperts to spread a lot of chaos.

  45. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    Mr. President, when you’re done blustering, please send over $5 billion.

  46. - Muddy trail - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 2:25 pm:

    == Mr. President, when you’re done blustering, please send over $5 billion.==
    Only Congress has the power of the purse. Per the US Constitution.

  47. - Ken_in_Aurora - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    ===The President hid in “the bunker” under the White House… they tired off the lights at the White House too.===

    OW, I’m no fan of his - but the USSS usually gets what the USSS wants, and I wouldn’t be so quick to hang him on this one.

  48. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    ===… but the USSS usually gets what the USSS wants, and I wouldn’t be so quick to hang him on this one.===

    The situation… dictated the action, not the USSS.

    With respect.

  49. - Ken_in_Aurora - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===With respect.===

    Is that the Chicago version of “bless your heart?” LOL

    Good point - he precipitated the situation with his actions.

  50. - Ken_in_Aurora - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    ===With respect.===

    Is that the Chicago version of “bless your heart?”

    Good point - he precipitated the situation with his actions.

  51. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    === Is that the Chicago version of “bless your heart?”===

    LOL, nah. It’s meant as it’s written.

    Stay safe. Be well.

  52. - Unfair - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    Lightfoot said the EXACT same thing she is criticizing Lopez for - “outside groups” “FBI and federal law enforcement looking into it”. She referenced again in her Monday press conf. Lopez may have been wrong, but so was she.

  53. - Nuke The Whales - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 4:18 pm:

    I’m going to try again. These are not lone wolves.

  54. - Mekon - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 5:08 pm:

    The better the visuals the more people will fall for misinformation. Bad info on this poor guy was shared more than 8K times according to this story.
    Pretty risky to have the horse out in the crowds downtown though.

  55. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 5:49 pm:

    Something I don’t understand about the radio interference is, how outside agitators can get into a radio system that’s supposed to use encryption.

    Back in the old days you could buy a police radio scanner from Radio Shack and have endless hours of amusement listening in. As did lookouts for criminal enterprises. But the bands used for police/fire were changed, and their tech upgraded, with new policies, some years back.

    The state led a massive massive radio purchase/ system upgrade contract with Motorola, using post-9/11 Federal money to upgrade police radios across the state, enable wider radio networks for coordinated EMS, and to subsidize newer radio tech for municipal PD’s.

    A feature of these systems (based on military tech) were secure encrypted channels immune to snooping with an old VHF scanner, and non-interruptible/jam-proof. If they are all on these secure, encrypted radio systems, then might it be the disruptors were bad-actor cops that own those secure radios themselves?

  56. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jun 3, 20 @ 6:37 am:

    Nuke the Whales that was a really interesting article. In history these riots will be called the Bugaloo riots.

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