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Mark Nepermann pleads "not guilty" for theft of panels, writes apology
July 2, 2009
Courtesy I-Resist and UC-indymedia
Mark Nepermann, the suspect in the theft of two signs from the outdoor art installation by Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne-Arapaho), pleaded "not guilty" in court today. He is charged with misdemeanor theft under $300, despite evidence given to State's Attorney Julia Rietz of the greater artistic value of the signs stolen from the "Beyond the Chief" exhibit at the University of Illinois.
Mark Nepermann, the 2009 UIUC graduate in Landscape Architecture faced charges of theft. The 22 year old from Batavia, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) was video taped by police surveillance cameras removing two exhibit items directly in front of the Native American House.
This theft followed a series of 7 cases of vandalism upon the art installation dating from March 16 through June 9, 2009. Julia Rietz only sought misdemeanor charges because she valued both exhibit items at under $300. By estimating the items at such a low price, Nepermann did not face felony charges. These actions by Rietz make transparent how the court system within Champaign-Urbana privileges certain populations, while literally devaluing the livelihoods of historically marginalized groups.
On July 2, the News-Gazette published an apology from Nepermann in its letters to the editor section.