Room’s security questioned in art theft

By Maureen Morrissey

More than 30 keys were in circulation for the Student Association Art Collection storage room when an art piece, worth over $8,000, was taken two weeks ago.

University Police said the untitled wood relief by Keith Haring was last seen March 13, but not discovered missing until March 26.

There were no signs of forced entry to the room, police said.

“It appears it was someone who had a key to the area,” said Sgt. Edward Bohn.

However, the whereabouts of all the keys is unknown. Not all the keys are still on campus, police said. The keys have accumulated over the years because of people filling vacated positions.

Michelle Emmett, University Programming and Activities director, said “it is suprising only one piece was stolen, it seems whoever took it must have had a key.”

SA Community Affairs Adviser Brian Subatich, who had a key, said he found out about the theft when police called him in for questioning.

Subatich was appointed by the senate last semester to investigate the status of the collection but told the senate April 8 he will no longer oversee the collection.

“I had a key, the police questioned me and I do not want to be involved in a controversial issue,” Subatich said.

However, the fact that Subatich had a key was a question of security “that should bother the whole campus,” said Erik Eide, Campus Activities Board Visual Arts coordinator, previously.

The lock to the storeroom was changed March 20 and only three keys were made, police said.

CAB was given two keys to the room and UP&A was given one, UP&A Graduate Assistant Lisa Petersen previously said.

The master keys that the Holmes Student Center Board engineering staff have also fit the lock, Petersen said.

CAB President Brett White said in order for CAB executives to have been let into the storeroom they must be accompanied by Eide or Art Curator Marie Castro.

No one in the SA was given a key.

UP&A had the missing piece of art assessed in 1986 at $8,000. However NIU art instructor Lynn MacKenzie said the 1986 appraisal was low.

The piece might be worth more since Haring died early this year of AIDS.

Haring “is very popular now,” and even if he were alive, the piece would be worth more than $8,000, MacKenzie said.

However, the piece was damaged which might have decreased the value.