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Man to pay nearly $3,000 for fecal incident

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

An Austin man who put dog feces in a payment envelope for a parking ticket in April must pay nearly $3,000 in restitution to the woman who opened it.

Joshua Steven Solberg, 22, pleaded guilty Friday in Mower District Court to misdemeanor disorderly conduct, records show.

Judge Fred Wellmann ordered Solberg to pay $2,921.70 to the victim, an office staff member of the Austin Police Department who became seriously ill after being exposed to the fecal matter, according to court documents.

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Restitution will go toward paying the victim’s medical costs not covered by insurance, city prosecutor Lee Bjorndal said Tuesday. Her medical bills totaled more than $5,000, he said.

Solberg must write an apology letter to the victim and pay a $300 fine, with another $200 and a 90-day jail sentence stayed for one year.

In May, Solberg was charged in a criminal complaint with disorderly conduct for the incident.

According to the complaint, Solberg was issued an overtime-parking citation April 18 for his vehicle being parked in front of his residence at 803 Second Ave. N.W. He paid for it by putting the ticket envelope in a drop box for citations at the Law Enforcement Center.

On April 25, the office employee noticed a foul odor around 2 p.m. while getting envelopes from the box. The odor persisted when she brought them to her desk.

As she opened the envelopes, the woman noticed one leaking a brown fluid, which got onto her hands, the complaint says. She put the envelope in a bag and washed her hands; the fluid also contaminated her desk.

That evening, the woman traveled to St. Cloud, Minn., and awoke the next day with a headache, and vomited repeatedly. She was hospitalized for about two days with an undetermined illness.

When an Austin detective spoke with Solberg on May 2, Solberg admitted to including feces from his dog in the envelope because he was upset about the ticket, the complaint says. Solberg said he regretted doing it because, right after leaving it, he realized a secretary likely would open it.

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Solberg denied targeting any particular person.

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