Recent graduate arrested for “Beyond the Chief” theft

After recovering the stolen “Beyond the Chief” signs on Monday, University Police have arrested a recent graduate for theft.

After recovering the stolen “Beyond the Chief” signs on Monday, University Police have arrested a recent graduate for theft.

A crime stoppers tip led the University police to the accused party, Mark Nepermann, a 2009 graduate in FAA.

“We received a crime stoppers tip that this person looked like the person on the video so we spoke with him yesterday,” said Tony Brown, University police Sgt.

The footage obtain by the security cameras placed at the Native American House was vital in solving the theft. A video clip of the suspect walking by the signs was sited on the Division of Public Safety Web site. The specific clip was chosen because it was the best shot, Brown said.

“It was the clearest view of his face and what he was wearing, his body shape and size,” he added.

The police have reported that there is no indication of a hate crime, racial bias or anything related to the recently rescinded Fighting Illini mascot.

The “Beyond the Chief” display has encountered multiple attacks since the signs were put up. John Mckinn, assistant director of the Native American House, believes that the attacks are related to the mascot.

“I believe people misread these signs to be a comment on the chief controversy when the signs are merely intended to memorialize the tribes that have historically resided in Illinois and have since been removed,” Mckinn said.

The signs have mirrored text of “The Fighting Illini” as well as tribes names.

“The indigenous history of Illinois is represent in the names of the signs, the names being twelve different tribes that historically occupy this land,” Mckinn said.

Despite the attacks, the Native American House is not considering taking the display down.

“We want these signs to be an educational opportunity,” Mckinn said.

“After repeated attacks I believe it was a good decision to use the camera,” he added.

Nepermann is being charged with a theft misdemeanor and is scheduled to appear in Champaign County Circuit Court for arraignment on Thursday afternoon.