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Man arrested for taking Harsdorf recall signatures

River Falls police were asked to track down and find a suspect who had made off with a batch of Sen. Sheila Harsdorf recall petition signatures late Sunday afternoon. The alleged theft occurred on the sidewalk near EconoFoods. The male suspect pretended he wanted to sign the petition to recall Harsdorf but instead swiped the forms with signatures and drove off.

The man drove back in five minutes and tossed the petition toward the group of volunteers. Either it was a poor throw or they couldn't catch. The paperwork landed on wet pavement.

With a vehicular and suspect description, an officer traced the man to his home near the River Falls Area Hospital.

The man seemed indignant that a police officer was at his door and denied being near EconoFoods. Then he said he couldn't be accused of stealing the petition signatures because he returned them.

When informed of his arrest, he allegedly resisted being handcuffed and began yelling about police brutality. His wife, also home, told her husband to calm down.

As he was taken outside, the man's cat tried to slip out the door. The officer stuck a foot out to block the animal but accidentally kicked him in the head. Again, the man began yelling about police brutality.

Back at the police station, the man was calmer and apologized for his conduct. He said he found the sight of the Harsdorf-recall petitioners very disturbing. He was released after receiving a $177 disorderly conduct fine.

Police also:

--Arrested a 29-year-old local man for drunk driving at 5:20 a.m. Sunday after he allegedly drove into the Arrow Building Center, hit a parking lot fence and then drove into the lumber yard and hit a sign post. His car was badly damaged and leaking fuel.

--Arrested a 23-year-old Hammond man for drunk driving at 1:55 a.m. Sunday on the edge of town at Hwy. 29 and County Road E. A truck driver following behind and noticing the Hammond man was swerving and even driving on the wrong side of the road got him to pull over by flashing his bright wig-wag lights. The suspect told an officer he was headed toward Hammond from River Falls. Reminded that he was actually coming from south of River Falls, the man said he must have got mixed up and lost.

For more, please read Police Beat in the March 23 print edition of the River Falls Journal.