Accused 'Make America Great Again' hat thief could face jail time

A University of California, Riverside student could face jail time after she was seen in a now-viral video appearing to swipe a "Make America Great Again" hat from a fellow Highlander.

Edith Macias allegedly snatched Matthew Vitale’s MAGA hat before going on a bizarre, profanity-laced tirade in the video, shot by Vitale.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office told Fox News that, if convicted, Macias faced a maximum sentence of up to one year in county jail.

“I’m very excited that the DA’s office took it seriously,” Vitale told Fox News. “We can’t thank UCPD enough.”

According to the criminal complaint, Macias is being charged with a misdemeanor offense of petty theft in the Sept. 27 incident. A spokesman for the DA’s office said the next court date is set for March.

Vitale, a member of the UC Riverside Republicans, pressed charges after the incident, in which he said Macias stole his pro-Trump hat off his head during a campus meeting and refused to give it back -- before two police officers responded to the scene and intervened.

According to the arrest warrant, Macias told one of the officers she wanted to burn the MAGA hat because she believed the words “Make America Great Again” represented the “genocide of a bunch of people.”

The police officers were able to review video from both Macias’ and Vitale’s Facebook pages, which appeared to showed Macias physically removing the hat from Vitale’s head and running away with it, then repeatedly refusing to return in. Vitale eventually got his hat back -- after Macias is seen in the video giving it to university staff who then turn the hat over to its owner.


Vitale said he was “disappointed” after University Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox issued a diplomatic statement noting that, “coequal to our dedication to mutual respect, is our commitment to free speech and the free exchange of ideas.”

“I get the feeling that the school didn’t take it very seriously,” Vitale said.

Inspired by the incident, Vitale and other College Republicans in Southern California started instituting "MAGA Mondays," in which they proudly display their Trump gear on campus -- including the same hat Macias allegedly stole.

Matthew Vitale, the Deputy Southern Region Vice Chair of the California College Republicans, participates in MAGA Monday on campus.

Matthew Vitale, the Deputy Southern Region Vice Chair of the California College Republicans, participates in MAGA Monday on campus. (Courtesy of Matthew Vitale)

“I do, very proudly, wear my MAGA hat,” Vitale said, though he added it was never about the $25 ball cap.

“I’m not doing this to be punitive or see her rot in jail,” he said. “I want people my age to realize that things like this aren’t tolerated in America. We just want to have our rights guaranteed and that’s what it’s all about.”