UI student's case referred to diversion

UI student's case referred to diversion

URBANA — A University of Illinois accounting student who sparked a fire in his apartment last fall while trying to make a smoke bomb has been referred to Champaign County's diversion program.

If Austin Povilaitis, 22, of Edina, Minn., completes 25 hours of public service, he will be able to plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense for court supervision.

Povilaitis was referred to the "Second Chance" program in April, after having been criminally charged in November with felony criminal damage to property and reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, in connection with a fire that happened at his apartment at 105 E. John St., C, about 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 28.

At the time of his arrest, officials said Povilaitis was trying to make a smoke bomb using a recipe and chemicals he obtained through the Internet. The fire jumped from the stove to the kitchen floor to a couch. A friend in the apartment crawled to a window, broke it and was not injured. Povilaitis sustained minor burn injuries.

Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett said Povilaitis is scheduled to return to court July 10. Assuming his community service is complete, he'll plead guilty then to misdemeanor reckless conduct, and be sentenced to a year of court supervision and a $300 fine. If he successfully completes the period of supervision, he'll have no record of a criminal conviction.

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