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Neo-Nazi Posters At U. of C. Were Put Up By Suburban Man, Officials Charge

By  Sam Cholke and Erica Demarest | March 20, 2017 11:02am | Updated on March 20, 2017 2:25pm

 The University of Chicago is pressing charges against a man who allegedly posted racist and anti-Semitic posters on campus and who police initially let go.
The University of Chicago is pressing charges against a man who allegedly posted racist and anti-Semitic posters on campus and who police initially let go.
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Courtesy of Chase Woods

HYDE PARK — A suburban man with no affiliation to the University of Chicago has been arrested for allegedly posting offensive posters on campus on March 9.

Matthew Urbanik, 21, of Schaumburg, was arrested Thursday and has been charged with felony criminal damage to property, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Urbanik was initially detained by university police on campus on March 9 while allegedly putting up 13 posters with racist and anti-Semitic messages, but was released with a warning.

RELATED: U. Of C. Releases Racist Poster Suspect, But Now They Want To Charge Him

University leadership later said it wanted Urbanik arrested and charged and would ban him from campus.

A warrant was issued for his arrest on March 13, and he was arrested on Thursday at the Wentworth District Police Department, according to court records, though its unclear whether he turned himself in. 

Urbanik was also wanted for a previous incident on campus where he allegedly posted neo-Nazi posters in Kent Hall, 1020 E. 58th St. He does not yet face any charges in that incident.

The university reported that Urbanik caused $1,030 in damage on campus with the March 9 posters, which he told police at the time he was posting for publicity.

The Atomwaffen Division, which claims allegiance to neo-Nazi and pro-fascist communities online advocating a race war, took credit on Twitter for the Dec. 4 posters Urbanik allegedly posted. The group's Twitter account has since been suspended.

Marielle Sainvilus, a spokeswoman for the university, confirmed the university would be pressing charges and has banned Urbanik from any property owned by the university.

A judge set a $20,000 bond at an initial hearing last week. Urbanik has posted bond and is no longer in police custody, according to court records.

The campus has been hit at least three times with posters proclaiming neo-Nazi, white nationalist and other messages. The arrest of Urbanik is so far the first in relation to any of those events.