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  • Employee charged in theft at gallery

    Employee charged in theft at gallery
    Chicago Tribune
    By Charles Sheehan
    June 18, 2006

    It's just been such a frenzy with people grabbing my work left and right that I can't make it fast enough

    An artist whose work has become a hot commodity after it was featured prominently in the movie 'The Break-Up' was the victim of a break-in at her Chicago gallery.

    Investigators now say it was an inside job. On Saturday a Cook County Criminal Court judge ordered an intern from Francine Turk Gallerie held on $50,000 bail.

    Michael Gutweiler, 23, a graphic arts student at Columbia College, said nothing during his hearing before Judge Thomas Hennelly. Gutweiler has been charged with felony burglary.

    Turk said that since her work appeared in the condominium at the heart of the Chicago-based film starring Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn, collectors have been snapping up everything she creates.

    'It's just been such a frenzy with people grabbing my work left and right that I can't make it fast enough,' she said. 'I think he saw the frenzy, and one thing led to another.'

    Witnesses said two men in black ski masks smashed through a glass front door at 7 a.m. Tuesday in the South Loop gallery, grabbed 10 paintings and sped off in a maroon van, Officer Kristina Schuler said.

    The paintings have not been found, and nobody else has been charged, police said.

    Gutweiler, who grew up in St. Louis, was the subject of a 2004 profile in the Tribune.

    On Oct. 19, 1998, St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little ran a stoplight in a sport-utility vehicle and smashed into the car driven by Susan Gutweiler, Michael Gutweiler's mother.

    She died 12 hours later. Michael Gutweiler was 15 at the time.

    Little pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 4 years' probation and 1,000 hours' community service.

    In an interview with Tribune sports columnist Rick Morrissey, Gutweiler said that his mother's death had ruined his life.

    He told Morrissey that after the accident, he quit playing ice hockey and soccer. He withdrew from friends and stopped taking medication for Tourette's syndrome, he said.

    Turk said she posted a job for a summer intern on the Columbia College Web site seeking help in the wake of her newfound fame.

    Gutweiler was hired in May, she said.

    Detectives told her almost immediately that the theft was an inside job and asked Turk for a list of employees.

    Court documents say Gutweiler had a pellet gun tucked in his waistband. The gun may have been used to shoot out the glass front door, police said.

    Gutweiler is scheduled to appear in court again June 23.

    Calls to Gutweiler's father's home in St. Louis were not returned Saturday.

  • #2
    Re: Employee charged in theft at gallery

    While I am truly sorry for the loss of his mother, I cannot condone his actions. I am embarrassed that Leonard Little is a St Louis Ram.

    I lost my 16 year old daughter 0n October 2, 2004...and lost my youngest brother exactly one month ago...but I could not use their deaths as an excuse to commit burglary.


    • #3
      Re: Employee charged in theft at gallery

      Originally posted by AlphaRam
      While I am truly sorry for the loss of his mother, I cannot condone his actions. I am embarrassed that Leonard Little is a St Louis Ram.

      I lost my 16 year old daughter 0n October 2, 2004...and lost my youngest brother exactly one month ago...but I could not use their deaths as an excuse to commit burglary.
      Your embarassed that Leonard Little is a Ram!


      • #4
        Re: Employee charged in theft at gallery

        Originally posted by AlphaRam
        While I am truly sorry for the loss of his mother, I cannot condone his actions. I am embarrassed that Leonard Little is a St Louis Ram.

        I lost my 16 year old daughter 0n October 2, 2004...and lost my youngest brother exactly one month ago...but I could not use their deaths as an excuse to commit burglary.
        I'm not embarrassed about Little. He made a mistake, like everyone has.

        But there's no justification to robbing something because his mom was killed.


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